East Coast Life Sciences Roundup: Ariad, Celgene, Amgen, More

Xconomy Boston — 

—The last of the year’s major medical conferences, the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in Atlanta, was held this week (Dec. 8-11), and several biotechs reported promising clinical data results. Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARIA), in Cambridge, MA, said on Monday that 56 percent of 444 chronic myeloid leukemia patients treated with its drug ponatinib, all of whom had been heavily pretreated with other medicines, had a major response after one year, with minimal side effects. Ariad’s stock has been climbing all week as a result, from $22.07 last Friday to $23.88 this Thursday.

Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG), based in Summit, NJ, also announced good results at ASH for pomalidomide, its multiple myeloma drug scheduled for a decision from the FDA by Feb. 10. Patients who were given the drug and steroids lived a median of 3.6 months without their disease progressing, twice as long as those given steroids alone. And Cambridge, MA-based Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, reported that the oral version of Velcade, its top-selling multiple myeloma drug, proved safe and effective in an early stage clinical trial, and so warrants further study.

Arsenal Medical of Watertown, MA, said on Monday that it won a $15.5 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to continue developing its foam-based product to control abdominal bleeding in soldiers injured on the battlefield. The foam is meant to be injected into the abdominal cavity, where it can control bleeding for at least an hour, Arsenal says.

Polaris Ventures Partners in Waltham, MA, and Arch Ventures Partners got a nice Christmas present on Tuesday when Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) announced it will buy deCode Genetics of Iceland for $415 million. As my colleague Luke Timmerman reported, the two VC firms paid $14 million less than three years ago to acquire deCode’s assets out of bankruptcy.