Aveo Adds Termeer to Board, Monsanto Partners With Atlas, Biogen Drug Meets Clinical Goal, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Boston — 

We saw financings, CEO and board hires, and clinical results from New England area biotechs this week.

—Blueprint Medicines, a startup focused on developing personalized cancer treatments, said it nabbed a $40 million Series A financing led by Third Rock Ventures. Mark Levin and Alexis Borisy of Third Rock serve on board of directors at Blueprint, which is using molecular and cancer genome data and a proprietary chemical compound library to develop drugs more tailored to patients’ conditions.

—Weston, MA-based Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) said that its oral multiple sclerosis drug candidate, dimethyl fumarate (BG-12), met its main goal in a pivotal study of 1,200 patients, by reducing MS flare-ups over two years compared with a placebo. The treatment also met its secondary goals, like slowing the rate of disability from the neurodegenerative disorder.

—Aveo Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AVEO), a Cambridge, MA-based drug developer working on an advanced treatment for kidney cancer, said that it added Henri Termeer to its board of directors. Termeer will be leaving his role as chairman and CEO of Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ) now that Sanofi-Aventis has completed its $20.1 billion buyout of the biotech.

—Enlight Biosciences, a Boston-based firm founded to aid Big Pharma with R&D challenges, added Roche veteran Michelle Browner as CEO. Enlight founding CEO David Steinberg, a partner at Boston-based venture firm PureTech Ventures, will remain on the company’s board.

—Brighton, MA-based surface engineering and nanotechnology provider Nano Terra said it acquired Surface Logix, also of Brighton. Both firms were founded by Harvard University chemist George Whitesides. The acquisition will enable Surface Logix, a drug developer, to apply the Nano Terra technology to healthcare products.

—MIT spinout Taris Biomedical added $18.3 million in a financing led by new investor Third Rock. The money will go to advancing the company’s lead drug, a potential treatment for a number of bladder ailments, into mid-stage clinical trials.

—Monsanto (NYSE: MON) said it was partnering with Cambridge-based Atlas Venture to find life sciences investments complementing Monsanto’s agriculture business. The were no financial terms disclosed for the multi-year collaboration, in which Atlas will help Monsanto scout investments in the areas of genomics, informatics, and biology, and Atlas will gain insight and technology to make its own future investments.

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge-based developer of cancer treatments, announced it had raised $77 million in Series G funding from new and existing investors, which include Crocker Ventures, Jennison Associates, TPG-Axon Capital, and WT Investment Advisors Fund.