Mass Biotech Council’s Image Troubles, Boston Scientific’s Mixed Bag, Another Big IPO in the Offing, and More

The summertime business damper has definitely been lifted. So much was happening at the end of last week that we ran out of time for a Friday round up. But fear not–here are the most interesting developments.

—The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council’s image troubles continued, with several members expressing “dismay” over the trade group’s recent direction in a Boston Globe article. The council has been under fire since the revelation that Robert Coughlin, its new president and a former aide to Governor Deval Patrick, had waited six weeks after his first conversations with the council before notifying the governor he was up for the job. Then came the news on Thursday that the council’s chief of external affairs, Eustacia Reidy, had resigned. On Saturday came another Globe story—this one detailing Coughlin’s meetings with state biotech executives during those sensitive six weeks. Meanwhile, the Boston Herald reports that the Council has almost $3000 worth of property on the latest abandoned property list from the state treasurer (The list includes forgotten bank accounts, uncashed checks, and so forth). Maybe MBC should collect the cash and put it toward a little image advertising?

— Athenahealth, a Watertown, MA, provider of web-based business services for medical practices, amended its IPO filings with the SEC to specify proposed terms for the deal, which will include 6.3 million shares offered at $14 to $16 per share. The company, which has applied to trade on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol ATHN, would wind up with a market cap of $442 million to $506 million.

—Cambridge’s Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY) announced on Friday that it had teamed up with Carlsbad, CA’s Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS), a rival in the RNAi space, to launch Regulus Therapeutics in Carlsbad. The joint venture will focus on therapies based on microRNA (aka miRNA)—very small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression. Funded with an initial $10 million from Alnylam, Regulus will get exclusive licenses to both parent firms’ intellectual property for therapeutic applications of miRNA.

—Lazard, an international financial advisory and asset management firm, announced that it’s setting up a Boston office as part of an effort to expand its technology business. Lazard already has offices in 33 cities, so evidently it shares the view of Apple and Starbucks that Boston isn’t the among the first markets in which one ought to set up shop.

—The week was a mixed bag for Natick-based Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX). At a cardiology meeting in Austria, the company announced a series of favorable clinical-trial results for it drug-coated stents—sales of which dropped last year when studies linked them to higher rates of potentially fatal clotting. But another study presented at the meeting indicated that heart-attack patients who receive drug-coated stents might have much higher rates of death than those who receive bare-metal versions of the artery-propping devices. (The New York Times has a nice summary of the various studies.) And at the end of the week, various media outlets picked up on an FDA warning letter sent to Boston Scientific on August 30. The letter cited the firm for, among other things, failing to report two deaths in a trial of a device for repairing aortic aneurysms (the company has since abandoned development of the device).

—Canadian firm Cognos announced that it is acquiring Westborough, MA-based financial analytics software firm Applix for $339 million.

—Several local firms announced new funding rounds. Bedford-based mobile music service provider Groove Mobile took in $6 million from ORIX Venture Finance. That brings the firm’s total raised to date to $32 million. Woburn’s SupplyScape, which makes supply-chain software for the pharmaceutical industry, raised $10 million in a Series C round from investors that included IDG Ventures Boston, North Bridge Venture Partners, Pilot House Ventures, Bethesda Partners, and Pfizer Strategic Investments Group. Waltham-based Proteon Therapeutics, which is developing treatments for renal and vascular diseases, took in $12
million in an extended Series A round
. The original round, announced last March, was worth $19 million.

—Framingham, MA-based GTC Biotherapeutics announced that the FDA had granted a fast-track review for ATryn, a recombinant form of a human anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory protein. GTC has genetically engineered goats to produce the protein—which is being investigated as a treatment for various clotting disorders—in their milk.

Rebecca is Xconomy's co-founder. Follow @

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