Forma Gets a $25.5M Fix, Novartis Bids Idera Adieu, Alnylam CEO Talks Strategy, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Boston — 

Somewhere between the turkey prep and the post-pie catatonia, folks at New England’s life sciences companies managed to make some news.

—Idera Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IDRA), a developer of DNA- and RNA-based drugs, announced that Swiss drug giant Novartis will end its four-year-old collaboration with the Cambridge, MA-based firm in February. Idera still has active collaborations with Germany-based drug-maker Merck KGaA and Whitehouse Station, NJ-based Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK), though.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals CEO John Maraganore chatted with Luke about his rather unconventional philosophy on how to make decisions in biotech. Two key steps, according to Maraganore: ditch the spreadsheets, trust the science.

—Cambridge-based Forma Therapeutics nabbed $25.5 million in a Series B venture round led by new backer Lilly Ventures, and joined by the Novartis Option Fund and Bio One Capital of Singapore. Forma CEO Steven Tregay told Luke about the company’s plans to invest in its own drug pipeline, as well as continuing to serve the many pharma partners interested in its drug-discovery engine, which aims in part to find drugs that hit previously inaccessible targets.

—Genzyme (NASDAQ:GENZ) resumed shipments of its best-selling drug for Gaucher’s disease, imiglucerase (Cerezyme), which has been in short supply since Genzyme halted the manufacture of it and other drugs made in the company’s Allston plant this summer to clean up a viral contamination. Meanwhile, a potential competitor to the Genzyme drug took a step closer to market when its developer, Israel-based Protalix Biotherapeutics (NYSE:PLX), struck a development and marketing deal with drug giant Pfizer.