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Taris Hires New CEO, Stromedix Hopes Clinical Trial Will Advance, Euthymics Hits the Ground With Series A, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Boston — 

We saw a number of lesser-known New England-area biotechs surface with funding announcements, as well as feature stories looking at company strategies and drug development trends.

—Inverness Medical Innovations, a Waltham, MA-based maker of consumer diagnostic tests and disease management tools, announced it had changed its name to Alere, and shifted its stock symbol on the NYSE from “IMA” to “ALR.”

—Brighton, MA-based drugmaker Surface Logix raised $4 million of a round of equity, options, and warrants that could total $4.6 million. The startup is working on treatments for obesity and diabetes, and was founded with technology from Harvard chemist George Whitesides in 2001.

—-Lexington, MA-based Taris Biomedical, a spinoff company from MIT making a drug-device combination treatment for bladder conditions, announced it had hired Sarma Duddu as its president and CEO. Duddu comes from Cima Labs, a subsidiary of the Frazer, PA-based drugmaker Cephalon (NASDAQ: CEPH).

—Ryan took a look at Cambridge, MA-based Stromedix, a biotech company that is developing drugs to target the process, called fibrosis, that causes patient’s bodies to reject transplanted kidneys. The drug, STX-100, is licensed from Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB), and was originally projected to hit a mid-stage clinical trial by this point, but has been delayed a bit. Stromedix CEO Michael Gilman told Ryan he expects the FDA will let the kidney fibrosis study advance next year, and the firm has already gotten the regulatory green-light to begin mid-stage clinical trials of its treatment for a lung disease called ideopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

—DiagnosisONE, a Nashua NH-based provider of software for clinical-decision support, raised $5 million from Edison Venture Fund, to put toward sales, marketing, and development.

Mitralign, a developer of catheter-based systems for repairing mitral valves, grabbed a $5 million credit facility from GE Capital. The Tewskbury, MA-based startup will put the funding toward further developing its technology.

—Shelton, CT-based pain medicine developer Cara Therapeutics said it raised a $15 million Series D funding round, led by Rho Ventures. Existing Cara backers Alta Biopharma, Ascent Biomedical Ventures, CT Innovations, Devon Park BioVentures, Healthcare Private Equity, Mitsubishi International, and MVM Life Science Partners also participated in the financing, which brings Cara’s funding pot to more than $43 million.

—Ryan highlighted the cluster of Boston-area life sciences firms that are pursuing treatments for autism spectrum disorders. The group includes Waltham, MA-based Affectiva, Beverly, MA-based Cellceutix, and Cambridge’s Seaside Therapeutics.

—Cambridge-based Euthymics Bioscience nabbed the first tranche of its Series A funding round, which could total $24 million if the drugmaker hits certain milestones, Luke wrote. The biotech startup is developing a drug targeting depression that lacks the side effects such as weight gain and sexual dysfunction present in existing treatments. It is using technology it acquired from Somerset, NJ-based DOV Pharmaceutical in 2002. Novartis Venture Funds and Venture Investors led the latest investment for Euthymics, which also included Hambrecht & Quist Capital Management, GBS Venture Partners, and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.

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