SeaGen Preserves Science Culture, Dendreon Sways Medicare, NanoString’s Financing, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

7/7/11Follow @xconomy

We Seattleites have to savor the incredible weather we’ve been having, so I’m keeping this week’s roundup short and sweet so as not to interfere with your outdoor time.

Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN) is one company that can’t really soak up too many rays right now, because it’s getting ready to transform from an R&D-only operation into one with a commercial product. The deal isn’t done yet—the company still needs FDA clearance later this summer—but CEO Clay Siegall talked in detail about what it’s like to prepare for this commercial push, and how he wants to retain the company’s science-first culture.

—Seattle-based Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN) took an important (although entirely expected) step forward by persuading the national Medicare agency to reimburse doctors who prescribe the company’s immune-boosting drug for prostate cancer. This marked the end of a yearlong inquiry, which rattled the nerves of some Dendreon investors at various times.

NanoString Technologies, the Seattle-based maker of genetic analysis instruments, collected $2.5 million out of a new financing round that could be worth as much as $14 million over time. The financing came in the form of debt that can be converted into equity, and warrants to buy more shares.

—Lastly, we had an op-ed from Stewart Lyman, provocatively titled “This drug didn’t work for me. May I have my $88,000 Back, Please?” This post, in which Lyman wonders whether the U.S. could adopt a U.K-style rebate system for cancer drugs that don’t work for certain individuals, was inspired partly by a recent dispute between Genentech and the FDA over the effectiveness of a high-priced treatment for breast cancer.

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