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the $128.5 million Merck has already paid the company in milestones and fees.
—GlaxoSmithKline halted a mid-stage clinical trial of one its drugs based on the red wine chemical resveratrol, after patients the study—who have a cancer of the bone marrow and plasma—developed a condition that can lead to kidney failure. Glaxo acquired the drug, which has drawn much media hype as an anti-aging drug, when it bought its developer, Cambridge-based Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, in 2008.
—Sanofi-Aventis, a French drugmaker with a Cambridge research site, agreed to contribute $500,000 in the next two years to a Massachusetts program that helps finance life sciences startups in the state, said the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the program’s administrator.
—The FDA set a deadline of October 22 to finish reviewing the application for approval of exenatide once-weekly (Bydureon), a diabetes drug developed by Waltham, MA-based Alkermes (NASDAQ: ALKS), San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN), and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly. The companies filed their application with the FDA in May 2009, and in March the regulators said they weren’t yet ready to approve the drug.
—Ryan profiled Watertown, MA-based Athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN), a provider of medical billing software and electronic health records that’s well known in the Boston area but struggles for recognition beyond New England circles. Athenahealth’s stock price fell by more than 18 percent when its first-quarter profits slid by 80 percent compared to Q1 2009, after the company upped its spending in an attempt to increase its physician customer base, but CEO Jonathan Bush defended the strategy.
—A new report on the increasing complexity of executing clinical trials, put out by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, caught the eye of our life sciences columnist, Sylvia Pagán Westphal. The jump in complexity, she wrote, might explain the swelling costs of getting drugs to market.
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