Concert Strikes a Chord With Investors, Abiomed Scores a Win with Medicare, Epix Snags $7.5M from GSK, & More Life Sciences News

Xconomy Boston — 

Is it Wednesday again already? Must be time for some life sciences news…

—Lexington, MA’s Concert Pharmaceuticals raised $37 million in one of this year’s biggest Series C rounds in New England biotech. The deal was led by an unnamed public equity investor and joined by Adage Capital Management, SR One, Mediphase Venture Partners, Westfield Capital Management, Three Arch Partners, TVM Capital, Skyline Ventures, Brookside Capital Partners Fund, Flagship Ventures, Greylock Partners, New Leaf Venture Partners, and QVT Fund.

—Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) decided to cover the cost of the AbioCor artificial heart and the surgery to implant it—reversing a 22-year-old policy against Medicare coverage for heart-replacement surgery. Shares of the device’s maker, Danvers, MA-based Abiomed (NASDAQ: ABMD) rose slightly in response.

—Flagship Ventures co-founder Noubar Afeyan, Harvard-Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics scientific director Raju Kucherlapati, and MIT Institute Professor and Nobel Laureate Phil Sharp led a lively discussion about the future of Boston-area life sciences at our latest Xconomy Forum. A good time was had by all—except maybe Kucherlapati’s stylist.

—InfraReDx of Burlington, MA, won FDA clearance for a catheter-based tool for analyzing the chemical makeup of plaques on the walls of coronary arteries. The FDA said the device was the first of its kind and could help doctors identify plaques that may be more likely to rupture and cause heart attacks.

—Critical Therapeutics of Lexington, MA, was bought in a stock-based transaction by Cornerstone BioPharma of Cary, NC, after promising investors late last year that it would seek a merger.

—Lexington, MA’s Epix Pharmaceuticals scored a $7.5 million milestone payment from partner GlaxoSmithKline for beginning Phase 2b clinical trials of an Alzheimer’s drug.

—Curis, of Cambridge, MA, started a Phase 2 trial of a new treatment for colorectal cancer, earning a $3 million milestone payment from collaborator Genentech in the process.