MedNetworks Partners with Healthways, NKT Gets $4M, Aileron Lands Deal With Roche, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Boston — 

We saw news from drugmakers, device companies, and health IT firms this week.

—Anchor Therapeutics, a Cambridge, MA-based biotech formerly named Ascent Therapeutics, brought in $10 million in a Series B round, with investments from TVM Capital, HealthCare Ventures, and the Novartis Option Fund. Anchor is working on drugs it calls “pepducins”—short pieces of proteins linked to a lipid molecule that anchors the drug in the membranes of targeted cells. Anchor is developing the drugs to treat blood cancers, and inflammatory and metabolic conditions.

—Cambridge-based Aileron Therapeutics landed a deal with Swiss drugmaker giant Roche that could be worth up to $1.1 billion. The biotech has gotten $25 million in technology access fees and R&D support from Roche as part of the partnership, to put toward developing and commercializing a new class of drugs called stapled peptides. Aileron could attract up to $1.1 billion in milestone payments if its meets development goals for drugs targeting Roche’s main treatment focuses: oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism, and the central nervous system.

—Danvers, MA-based medical imaging startup Photo Diagnostic Systems pulled in $5 million in equity-based funding. The firm is developing a portable positron emission tomography scanner.

—MedNetworks, a Newton, MA-based provider of social network analytics for healthcare, announced it was applying its technology to population health management, through a partnership with Tennessee-based Healthways. The company, which provides customized wellness programs, will use the MedNetworks technology to track how patients in a population influence each other’s health decisions.

—Newton, MA-based drugmaker NKT Therapeutics pulled in a $4 million equity financing from three unnamed investors, according to an SEC filing. The startup is developing drugs that target white blood cells known as natural killer T cells, which are thought to incite greater immune responses to diseases such as asthma and cancer.

—Ryan wrote how the health insurance reform could offer incentives for insurers to adopt technology from HealthEdge Software, a Burlington, MA-based provider of software enabling insurers to design customized health plans. The software allows insurance companies to more quickly update their policies to comply with the new laws under the reform act, like the one that now allows children to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.

—Littleton, MA-based Wavemark, a maker of radio-frequency identification tags, raised $3.9 million in an equity offering, to put toward working capital. The startup’s products help hospitals track the usage and expiration of medical supplies.