FDA Panel OKs Vertex Drug, Dyax Works With FivePrime, Genzyme Amends Anika Lawsuit, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Boston — 

New England biotechs made news this week with approvals from FDA advisory panels, licensing deals, collaboration agreements, and lawsuits.

—An FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended the FDA approve telaprevir, the thrice-daily pill for hepatitis C from Cambridge, MA-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX). The FDA, which usually takes the recommendations of these panels, is scheduled to make its final decision on the drug on May 23.The NASDAQ halted trading of Vertex’s common stock on Thursday while the advisory committed reviewed the application. The day before, an FDA panel voted unanimously to approve Merck’s (NYSE: MRK) rival hepatitis C pill, boceprevir.

—Proteostasis Therapeutics, a Cambridge-based developer of technology to fight neurodegenerative diseases by keeping proteins in balance, said it obtained two exclusive licenses from Harvard, pertaining to the ubiquitin-proteosome pathway. It did not disclose financial terms.

—Cambridge-based Dyax (NASDAQ: DYAX)  said it will collaborate with South San Francisco-based FivePrime to discover new antibody drugs. Dyax will get technology license fees and research support and is eligible for milestone payments and royalties if FivePrime successfully develops drugs using Dyax’s phage display technology.

—My colleague Ryan wrote about KEW Group, the new Concord, MA-based cancer care startup that’s been in the formative stages for about a year and is working on raising venture money. KEW is led by Boston biotech veterans and Harvard scientists, and is working to open up a network of oncology clinics that make IT and evidence-based medicine, like genetic testing, more accessible to patients get treated at community clinics.

—Genzyme, the Cambridge-based biotech now owned by Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY), amended its patent infringement lawsuit against Anika Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ANIK) surrounding Anika’s osteoarthritis treatment, Monovis. Genzyme also filed a new complaint in U.S. District Court in Boston that includes a newly issued patent.