XconomyXconomy https://www.xconomy.com Business, Life Sciences, and Technology News Mon, 23 Apr 2018 15:57:20 +0000 hourly 1 Trade War Looming, 3D Printing Startup Formlabs Ups China Investment https://www.xconomy.com/boston/2018/04/23/trade-war-looming-3d-printing-startup-formlabs-ups-china-investment/ Mon, 23 Apr 2018 12:55:09 +0000 Jeff Engel https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365396

Formlabs sees China as one of the keys to expanding 3D printing technology’s role in manufacturing, and the Massachusetts-based startup plans to grow its business there with the help of a recent $30 million venture funding round and some new investors located in China.

Xconomy reported Formlabs’ latest investment in early April after spotting a document filed with federal securities regulators. Today, the Somerville, MA-based 3D printing company shared more details about the $30 million Series C funding round. The investment was led by previous backer Tyche Partners, and it includes contributions from China-based Shenzhen Capital Group and UpNorth Investment Limited,... Read more »


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Sage Postpartum Depression Drug Heads to FDA Review https://www.xconomy.com/boston/2018/04/23/sage-postpartum-depression-drug-heads-to-fda-review/ Mon, 23 Apr 2018 12:14:42 +0000 Ben Fidler https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365545

A new treatment for postpartum depression has inched closer to market.

Sage Therapeutics this morning filed for FDA approval of brexanolone, which could become the company’s first marketed product as well as the first-ever drug approved specifically for PPD, which affects some 10 to 20 percent of women giving birth every year in the U.S.

In November, Sage’s (NASDAQ: SAGE) brexanolone succeeded in two Phase 3 trials in PPD, beating a placebo at reducing a measure of patients’ depression symptoms. Still, whether the drug—which requires a 60-hour IV infusion—will succeed commercially is an open question. In a recent research note,... Read more »



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Life Sci Veteran Garabedian Talks Up Biotech Accelerator in Texas https://www.xconomy.com/texas/2018/04/23/life-sci-veteran-garabedian-talks-up-biotech-accelerator-in-texas/ Mon, 23 Apr 2018 11:00:54 +0000 David Holley https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365497

San Antonio — For early stage researchers at universities and other institutions, the idea of finding enough money to bring a drug or medical device to market can seem daunting, if not entirely hopeless.

Grants and angel networks can cover some preclinical funding, and big venture capital firms are there to pour tens of millions into platform technologies like CRISPR and immunotherapy. But as for smaller biotech companies looking to finance clinical trials? Investment money is hard to come by—which is one reason why Chris Garabedian, the former CEO of Sarepta Therapeutics, said he is targeting that group with Xontogeny, a... Read more »

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Tocagen Reaches Exclusive Deal in China for Brain Cancer Therapy https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/04/20/tocagen-reaches-exclusive-deal-in-china-for-brain-cancer-therapy/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 23:15:49 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365534

Roughly a year and a half after Tocagen (NASDAQ: TOCA) named Marty Duvall as CEO, the San Diego biotech said it has signed a deal that gives Beijing-based ApolloBio an exclusive license to its gene therapy treatment for a deadly type of brain cancer.

Under terms of the deal, ApolloBio agreed to make a $16 million upfront payment to Tocagen, with another $4 million to come in “near-term” milestone payments. Tocagen has granted ApolloBio rights to commercialize its two-part treatment in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. The experimental treatment is currently being tested in a global late-stage clinical... Read more »

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Torque Taps Thomas Andresen for Chief Scientific Officer https://www.xconomy.com/boston/2018/04/20/torque-taps-thomas-andresen-for-chief-scientific-officer/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 21:28:14 +0000 Frank Vinluan https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365529 Thomas Andresen has been appointed chief scientific officer of immune-oncology therapies developer Torque. Andresen comes to the Cambridge, MA-based company from the Technical University of Denmark, where he was a professor in the department of micro-and nanotechnology. Andresen is also a Torque co-founder. Torque, which raised $25 million in a Series A round of financing last year, is developing cell therapies intended to offer a more targeted and durable tumor-killing approach.

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Natera Names Paul Billings Chief Medical Officer https://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2018/04/20/natera-names-paul-billings-chief-medical-officer/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 21:23:53 +0000 Frank Vinluan https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365525 Paul Billings has been named chief medical officer and senior vice president of medical affairs of Natera (NASDAQ: NTRA). Billings’ experience includes serving as chief medical officer of Life Technologies and as consulting chief medical officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific’s (NYSE: TMO) genetic sciences division. San Carlos, CA-based Natera markets genetic assays, including prenatal tests and tests to identify the cause of miscarriages.

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Using Analytics, Fitcode Aims to Connect Shoppers to Jeans That Fit https://www.xconomy.com/national/2018/04/20/using-analytics-fitcode-aims-to-connect-shoppers-to-jeans-that-fit/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 18:28:40 +0000 Angela Shah https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365518

There are few things more universal in wardrobes the world over than blue jeans. But they are also the number one item that is returned by online shoppers, says Rian Buckley, founder and CEO of Fitcode.

“Fit is the number one purchase driver and reason to return,” she says.

For many of us, the idea that size is a poor indicator of how an item of clothing will fit is not new. Yet, at least for the time being, retailers and brands continue to market clothing using the current sizing system. Buckley experienced this problem firsthand during her career as a... Read more »

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Here Are the Companies in Gener8tor’s Madison 2018 Accelerator Class https://www.xconomy.com/wisconsin/2018/04/20/here-are-the-companies-in-gener8tors-madison-2018-accelerator-class/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 16:26:55 +0000 Jeff Buchanan https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365506

Two companies headquartered in Florida and two others based in Gener8tor’s home state of Wisconsin are among the six startups participating in the organization’s latest for-equity accelerator program.

Gener8tor, which invests in startups and coaches the entrepreneurs who run them, has graduated a dozen classes of early-stage companies from its core program since 2012. The 65 startups in Gener8tor’s portfolio have together raised more than $150 million in follow-on financing, the organization says.

This week Gener8tor unveiled its newest group of companies, which has been working from Madison, WI, since the program kicked off in February. It will culminate... Read more »

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Cybersecurity Innovation Is Key as Nations Move to Digital Hostilities https://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2018/04/20/cybersecurity-innovation-is-key-as-nations-move-to-digital-hostilities/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:27:46 +0000 Bernadette Tansey https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365469

As the under secretary responsible for U.S. cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration, Suzanne Spaulding was watching out for signs of vote tampering or disruptions on Nov. 8, 2016, as citizens cast their ballots for the presidential candidate of their choice. On that Election Day, the agency was on heightened alert based on reports that Russian operatives had infiltrated voter registration databases in more than 20 states.

Local elections offices make up just one part of the critical U.S. infrastructure that Spaulding monitored as a government official, and she’s still watching over them now that she’s... Read more »

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Pivotal Notches $555M IPO to Boost Enterprise Software in the Cloud https://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2018/04/20/pivotal-adds-555m-in-ipo-to-boost-enterprise-software-in-the-cloud/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:28:37 +0000 David Holley https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365311

Pivotal Software is the latest to jump into an improving public market for tech companies—the San Francisco-based software business is raising $555 million in its initial public offering today.

Pivotal said it priced 37 million shares for $15 apiece in the offering, in the middle of its expected range. The IPO still leaves Dell Technologies as the majority shareholder of Pivotal, however, with a 70.1 percent stake. Dell also owns almost all of the voting power for the company. Pivotal is set to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker PVTL, starting Friday.

The stock offering gives Pivotal... Read more »

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Biogen Pays $1B to Broaden Ionis Pact, Betting More on RNA Drugs https://www.xconomy.com/boston/2018/04/20/biogen-pays-1b-to-broaden-ionis-pact-betting-more-on-rna-drugs/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 11:40:41 +0000 Ben Fidler https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365473

Biogen will pay Ionis Pharmaceuticals $1 billion to expand their current partnership, doubling down on the RNA drugmaking technology that brought the spinal muscular atrophy drug nusinersen (Spinraza) to market.

Ionis (NASDAQ: IONS) gets $325 million in cash up front in the deal, while Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) will also buy 11,501,153 Ionis shares at $54.34 apiece, a roughly 25 percent premium to the company’s $45.85 closing price on Thursday. The cash kickstarts a new ten-year alliance to develop RNA drugs for a variety of neurological disorders with few treatment options available. Among them: dementia, neuromuscular diseases, movement disorders, ophthalmology,... Read more »

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Bio Roundup: Hope for Lungs, Bradner’s Complaint, FDA Nods & More https://www.xconomy.com/national/2018/04/20/bio-roundup-hope-for-lungs-bradners-complaint-fda-nods-more/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 11:00:29 +0000 Alex Lash https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365436 Credit: Depositphotos image_5645691_chepko

The biggest news this week was in oncology, hands down. Merck showed that its immunotherapy pembrolizumab (Keytruda) might become a common option for many patients newly diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, but the bigger picture is that the field is moving fast. While pembrolizumab notched the headline-grabbing data, others are also working to develop options for various subsets of patients.

Who will be able to afford all these options? We explored that question in our coverage. The price of drugs is certainly on a lot of minds these days, including the mind of President Trump, as he reportedly will make a... Read more »

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Want to Find Stellar Software Engineers in the Midwest? Here’s How https://www.xconomy.com/detroit-ann-arbor/2018/04/20/want-to-find-stellar-software-engineers-in-the-midwest-heres-how/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:24:37 +0000 Phil Danne https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365404 It may seem obvious that companies in the Midwest face challenges attracting and retaining talent, given our weather and location far from the coasts. One need only to look at college football recruiting, after all, to see how the average annual snowfall on campus matters almost as much as last season’s win/loss record.

To some around the country, it probably didn’t come as a surprise that Amazon cited concerns over a lack of available workforce talent in its decision to pass on Detroit for the company’s new headquarters, or HQ2. But others who live and work in the Detroit metro area... Read more »

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Boston Tech Watch: Kyruus, Kolide, Nano-C, BookingBug https://www.xconomy.com/boston/2018/04/20/boston-tech-watch-kyruus-kolide-nano-c-bookingbug/ Fri, 20 Apr 2018 04:01:40 +0000 Jeff Engel https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365363

Time to catch up on the latest tech headlines from the Boston area:

—Westwood, MA-based Nano-C said it closed an $11.5 million funding round that was capped off by a $3 million investment from Ray Stata, the co-founder of Norwood, MA-based semiconductor company Analog Devices (NASDAQ: ADI). Founded in 2001, Nano-C has developed “nanostructured” carbon materials and chemicals based on MIT research and designed for use in electronics and renewable energy products.

—Boston-based health IT startup Kyruus said it raised $10 million from investors including Providence Ventures, the venture capital arm of Providence St. Joseph Health. Eight-year-old Kyruus uses data... Read more »

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Techstars Anywhere Inaugural Class Takes Virtual Graduation Walk https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/04/19/techstars-anywhere-inaugural-class-takes-virtual-graduation-walk/ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 23:36:03 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365420 Techstars Anywhere First Class

[Corrected 4/20/09, 5:35 am. See below.] From Adelaide to Toronto, the Techstars accelerator that began in Boulder, CO, runs 39 programs in 27 cities around the world—with the prerequisite that admitted startups must relocate, if necessary, to the city where their three-month program is based.

Today, however, the inaugural class of the 40th program—Techstars Anywhere—is graduating after completing an online Demo Day that capped the past three months of the program’s first “virtual accelerator.”

“We started Techstars Anywhere so that companies could still get the full benefit of our mentorship-driven accelerator, whether they are in San Diego or Halifax,... Read more »

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Safety Concerns Linger for Lilly’s Arthritis Drug as FDA Panel Looms https://www.xconomy.com/indiana/2018/04/19/safety-concerns-linger-for-lillys-arthritis-drug-as-fda-panel-looms/ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 21:49:38 +0000 Frank Vinluan https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365390

FDA staffers have expressed significant concerns about the side effects tied to Eli Lilly’s experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib (Olumiant), which is once again up for review after the agency rejected it last year.

Next week, a panel of independent experts will convene to evaluate the merits of baricitinib. The FDA looks to these advisory panels in making regulatory decisions, though it doesn’t always agree with their insights.

Leading up to the meeting, FDA scientists on Thursday released briefing documents outlining their thinking on baricitinib. The agency cited the instance of deadly blood clots and questioned whether the higher of the... Read more »

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Baird: Exact Sciences Should Rebound After First-Quarter ‘Headwinds’ https://www.xconomy.com/wisconsin/2018/04/19/baird-exact-sciences-should-rebound-after-first-quarter-headwinds/ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 20:30:07 +0000 Jeff Buchanan https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365406

Cancer screening test company Exact Sciences may not be anticipating the release of its first-quarter earnings report next week as eagerly as it has past quarters’ earnings announcements. The Madison, WI-based company in February signaled to investors that sales of its flagship product Cologuard, a stool-based DNA test for colorectal cancer screening, hit a bit of a slump this winter. But Exact (NASDAQ: EXAS) maintained that a potential break in the product’s long growth streak wasn’t due to dissatisfaction with the test among physicians or patients. Instead, company executives said, cold weather and an unusually severe flu season disrupted... Read more »

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Ford Offers Non-Emergency Medical Transport with New GoRide Service https://www.xconomy.com/detroit-ann-arbor/2018/04/19/ford-offers-non-emergency-medical-transport-with-new-goride-service/ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 15:56:23 +0000 Sarah Schmid Stevenson https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365385

Proponents of mobility and autonomous vehicle technologies say those innovations have a lot of humanity-improving potential.

Self-driving cars will dramatically reduce congestion and accidents, they say, and will allow elderly and disabled people to get around more independently. One future scenario imagines residents of a retirement community requesting rides from a community-owned autonomous shuttle using a smartphone or other interface whenever the need arises.

However, a lot more technical development must occur before autonomous vehicles can safely operate on their own. In the meantime, ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are delving into the non-emergency medical transport market—a market that... Read more »

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Shapeways Adds $30M to Push “Mass Personalization” Via 3D Printing https://www.xconomy.com/new-york/2018/04/19/shapeways-adds-30m-to-push-mass-personalization-via-3d-printing/ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 13:00:13 +0000 Jeff Engel https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365299

Shapeways, a New York-based 3D printing company, has raised $30 million in new funding to help expand its services for product designers aspiring to build successful small businesses.

Shapeways, which has raised more than $100 million to date, operates an online marketplace where designers and others with product ideas can sell their 3D-printed wares, such as jewelry, board game pieces, toys, and camera accessories. The company handles the 3D printing and shipping. It also offers product development and design services.

But the 11-year-old company is moving into new territory, as it attempts to become a one-stop shop for product creators.... Read more »

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5 Takeaways From Robo Madness 2018 at iRobot https://www.xconomy.com/boston/2018/04/19/5-takeaways-from-robo-madness-2018/ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:57:41 +0000 Gregory T. Huang https://www.xconomy.com/?p=365360

A who’s who of robotics and artificial intelligence experts gathered at iRobot’s headquarters in Bedford, MA, last week. The occasion was Xconomy’s fourth annual Robo Madness conference, and you can check out photos from the event here.

Here are five things we learned from the discussions:

1. Watch your interns and office cleaners—they’ll go on to great things. Joe Jones, co-inventor of the Roomba (now CTO of Franklin Robotics), used to be in charge of vacuuming the iRobot office, circa 1994. Clara Vu and Max Makeev, former iRobot interns and employees, now help lead the startups Veo Robotics and... Read more »

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