Curis Misses Mark in Cancer Drug Trial, Genzyme Re-Elects Full Board, GTC Cuts Jobs, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

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spinout of Children’s Hospital Boston and is developing diagnostic tests that are less invasive than existing methods.

GTC Biotherapeutics, a Framingham, MA-based drugmaker, has eliminated 50 jobs and will be replacing its CEO, in connection with a $7 million debt financing. Former Elixir Pharmaceuticals CEO William Heiden will be replacing Geoffrey Cox as CEO of GTC, which last year won FDA approval for the first drug manufactured in genetically modified animals.

—An experimental cancer drug from Cambridge-based Curis (NASDAQ: CURIS) missed its target in a clinical trial run by Roche and its U.S.-based Genetech unit. The small-molecule drug, GDC-0449, failed to stop the spread of tumors or help people live longer in a study of 199 patients with colorectal cancer. The trial combined the Curis treatment with chemotherapy and Roche’s bevacizumab (Avastin)

—Norwood, MA-based Boston Biomedical, a company developing a drug that targets stem-like properties of certain cancer cells, raised $2 million in an equity offering, an SEC filing revealed.

—Cambridge-based Daktari Diagnostics added another $820,000 to its Series A pot, bringing the company’s first round to $3.7 million. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, has also pumped $600,000 into the startup, which is developing an inexpensive diagnostics system that can be used in developing countries lacking access to laboratories. PATH, a global health organization based in Seattle, is also funding the first clinical trial for Daktari, whose handheld device counts so-called CD4 cells in the blood, an indicator of HIV patients’ immune system health.

—Luke took a look at San Francisco-based iPierian, a startup out to use stem-cell technology for drug discovery. The company started from the fusion of two other ventures: Boston-based Pierian, co-founded by a trio of scientists from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and iZumi Bio, a Mountain View, CA-based company with some heavy-hitting entrepreneurs and stem-cell pioneers.

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