SeaGen Strikes Abbott Deal, Omeros Passes Study, Alnylam Fires Back at Tekmira, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

3/24/11Follow @xconomy

Another week, another deal for Seattle Genetics. This company is clearly on a roll.

Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN) raked in another $8 million upfront payment this week from a big drugmaker that wants to use its technology for linking targeted antibodies to toxins that make them more potent. This time, Abbott Laboratories shelled out for rights to the technology, making this the 11th such licensing deal Seattle Genetics has signed. If Abbott reaches certain milestones, Seattle Genetics could collect another $200 million in payments, plus royalties on product sales.

—Seattle-based Omeros (NASDAQ: OMER) said it passed a mid-stage clinical trial with one of its lesser-known assets in development—a combination treatment for eye surgery to repair cataracts. This drug, OMS302, was able to maintain pupil dilation during surgery, and reduce postoperative pain and irritation. Omeros said it plans to advance the drug into the third and final stage of clinical testing usually required for FDA approval. The stock climbed about 10 percent on the news.

—The Allen Institute for Brain Science made a notable personnel move this week, hiring Christof Koch, a veteran neuroscientist on the faculty at Caltech, as its new chief scientific officer.

—A year has gone by since President Obama signed the landmark healthcare reform bill into law. Plenty of people feared it would stifle drug prices and take away the incentive to develop innovative new drugs, but as I point out in this week’s BioBeat column, it didn’t happen.

—Vancouver, BC-based Tekmira Pharmaceuticals kicked up a storm last week when it sued its longtime partner, Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY) for more than $1 billion, accusing it of misusing trade secrets. Alnylam CEO John Maraganore says his company did no such thing, and he fired back with some choice words for the folks at Tekmira in this exclusive interview.

Stewart Lyman offered up a thorough analysis of biotech financing over the past couple years, which raises a very tough question on a lot of people’s minds: “Who will pay for drug development in the future?” Check out his first installment, and the second part.

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