5 Biotech Storylines to Watch in Boston

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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a leading developer of RNA interference drugs, prompting Alnylam to announce a 25-30 percent reduction in its work force last month. The field might need a breakthrough in drug-delivery technology to boost confidence that RNA interference will live up to its promise.

4. More Changes at Biogen Idec

Weston, MA-based Biogen Idec, one of the world’s largest makers of multiple sclerosis drugs, has a new CEO, George Scangos, who might shake things up at the company. When he took the job in June, he said that he would review the firm’s R&D strategy and would look to make changes. The new boss hasn’t provided details on those changes yet, but he told the Boston Globe last week that he plans to unveil a new operating blueprint by the end of the year. As we reported on July 1, Scangos has indicated that his changes could mean that certain R&D programs get shed from the pipeline. We’ll be watching for what the expected changes will mean for Massachusetts’s second-largest biotech firm.

5. Campaign Against Cancer

My colleague Luke did a great job of summing up this ever-unfolding story in his recent post about Xconomy’s next biotech forum called Boston’s War on Cancer. With more than half a million Americans dying from cancer every year, many Boston-area biotech firms have a lot riding on the success of their experimental cancer drugs. For instance, Cambridge-based Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA) is expected to report data later this year from its pivotal study of a drug called ridaforolimus for treating certain forms of soft tissue and bone cancer. So stay tuned…

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