Genzyme Initiates Job Cuts, Dana-Farber/Gatekeeper Suit Advances, GTC Bought by LFB, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Boston — 

Biotechs, research institutes, health IT companies, diagnostics firms, and the investing side of life sciences all made the news in the New England area this week with headlines of funding, litigation, and personnel changes.

—Woburn, MA-based biodefense and diagnostics firm Pathogenetix, formerly called U.S. Genomics, raised a $1.3 million equity-based financing, and $900,000 of a potential $1.2 million debt deal, according to two SEC filings.

—Cambridge, MA-based Daktari Diagnostics, a startup pursuing a system for testing HIV patients’ blood in locations away from traditional lab settings, raised $1.8 million in equity-based funding, an SEC filing showed.

—Cambridge biotech giant Genzyme said it will be cutting 185 jobs in Massachusetts, an initial phase of its plan to eliminate 1,000 jobs across the company by the end of 2011. The drugmaker aims to save $385 million annually by 2012 through the layoffs and other cost-saving measures.

—Framingham, MA-based GTC Biotherapeutics revealed it will be bought by LFB Biotechnologies for $18.3 million, or 30 cents a share. The deal will give LFB 90 percent ownership of GTC, which was the first company to get FDA approval for a drug produced by genetically modified animals. LFB will also buy out all GTC minority stakeholders, for a total of $2.7 million.

HealthcareSource, a Woburn-based provider of software for HR management in the healthcare field, said it would buy its partner, TestSource of Grand Rapids, MI. Deal terms weren’t disclosed. Last week, HealthcareSource filed documents with the SEC indicating that it had raised $3.2 million and $8 million in two separate equity and rights offerings.

—Ryan continued to follow Boston-based Dana-Farber’s lawsuit against Bay Area biotech Gatekeeper Pharmaceuticals, which was launched by Dana-Farber scientists looking to commercialize a potential lung cancer drug they discovered at the institute. Dana-Farber is looking to get out of its agreement to license the molecule to Gatekeeper because it now believes Swiss drug giant Novartis, a long-time funder of the institute, has rights to the discovery. The latest round of filings reveals, among other things, disagreements between Gatekeeper president John Chant and the startup’s board of directors over how to handle the case.

—Biotech personality Robert Kamen joined Boston’s Third Rock Ventures to take part in the development of new companies. His resume includes the Genetics Institute, Oxford Bioscience Partners, and Abbott Bioresearch Center, where he was president and part of the team that discovered the blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug adalimumab (Humira).

—The CEO of Beverly, MA-based Cellceutix (OTCBB: CTIX), former Pfizer legal executive George Evans, left the company due to a compensation dispute. He’s demanding the firm pay him $1.7 million in back salary and future compensation, according to SEC documents. Cellceutix, which has less than $5,000 in cash, approved a one-for-50 stock split to boost its fundraising capabilities and help pay for the Evans dispute.