Avila Sets Out to Take on Vertex, CombinatoRx Nails FDA Approval, Millipore Opts for Merck KGaA over Thermo Fisher, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Boston — 

Stories of drugmakers, deals, health IT companies, and even some nonprofits made it a busy life sciences news week for us.

Waltham’s Avila Therapeutics is on a quest to outdo well-known Boston drugmaker Vertex Pharmaceuticals when it comes to treating hepatitis C, Luke wrote last week. The company’s drugs rely on forming covalent bonds to shut down targets on virus-infected cells, preventing the virus from mutating and escaping, which could give it an edge on the Vertex drug that has varying degrees of effectiveness on different mutations of hepatitis C, Avila’s CEO said.

—Dossia, a Cambridge, MA-based nonprofit electronic health records provider, rolled out its system to another two of its founding companies. Computer chip maker Intel and mail system provider Pitney Bowes will offer some of their workers the Dossia system, which is sustained by subscription fees and is designed to lower overall healthcare costs for corporate clients.

Speaking of electronic health records, Athenahealth is looking for some opinions on the matter and announced a partnership with Cambridge’s doctors-only social networking site Sermo to get just that. Financial terms of the partnership between Sermo and Watertown, MA-based Athena (NASDAQ:ATHN), a maker of Internet healthcare software, weren’t revealed.

— Millipore shook things up this week when it announced plans to accept a bid from Germany’s Merck KGaA, which offered to buy the company for $107 a share, or $7.2 billion. Thermo Fisher had previously made an unsolicited $6 billion bid for the Billerica, MA-based life sciences equipment supplier, according to media reports.

—Stealthy Guilford, CT and San Francisco-based startup Ion Torrent Systems opened up a bit to discuss its digital DNA readout technology, leaving plenty of genomic science bloggers buzzing. And the machine from Ion Torrent, which is advised by a Harvard genomics pioneer and supported by a Seattle partner, costs … Next Page »

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