East Coast Life Sciences Roundup: Bind, Boston Children’s, J&J, More

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Shire  (NASDAQ: SHPG), an Irish firm with a large operation in Lexington, MA. The startup is backed by prolific Boston VC firm Third Rock Ventures.

—-Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE) of Carlsbad, CA, announced at JP Morgan that it is forming a new company with Boston Children’s Hospital, called Claritas Genomics, to develop next generation genomics-based diagnostics. Claritas is majority-owned by Boston Children’s and will combine the expertise of the hospital’s staff with Life Technologies’ genomic sequencing technology.

—Life sciences did go on outside of San Francisco. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), based in New Brunswick, NJ, scored a win with canagliflozin, one of a new class of drugs for Type 2 diabetes that increases the amount of glucose secreted in the urine. A committee of outside experts convened by the FDA voted 10 to 5 on Thursday to recommend FDA approval of the drug  A year ago the FDA delayed its decision on a similar drug, dapagliflozin, from Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) and Astra Zeneca (NYSE: AZN), asking for more information. Dapagliflozin was approved in Europe in November but the J&J drug now has the lead in the U.S. An FDA decision is due by the end of March.

—-And back in Massachusetts, health IT firm Athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN), based in Watertown, announced on Monday  that it will buy Epocrates (NASDAQ: EPOC), a mobile medical app company in San Mateo, CA, for $293 million in cash.

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