Boston Roundup: Biogen Idec, Cloudant, NEA, eClinicalWorks, & More

A big biotech drug buy leads off this collection of deal news from around the Boston region:

Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) is buying out partner Elan Corp.’s interest in natalizumab (Tysabri), a drug for people who have relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. Weston-based Biogen is paying $3.25 billion up front to Ireland-based Elan, plus future payments based on the drug’s sales.

Biogen, the world’s largest provider of multiple sclerosis drugs, gains sole control over Tysabri in the deal. Previously, the two companies had split profits equally.

Tysabri had a rough start when two patients on the drug died from a rare brain infection known as PML. Subsequent tests showed the infection wasn’t as deadly as first thought, although it’s still a serious side effect.

—Boston could be seeing another VC firm set up shop in town. That’s the word from the Boston Business Journal, which reports that Silicon Valley- and Washington, DC-based New Enterprise Associates is thinking about opening a Boston office in the next six months.

In an interview, NEA’s David Mott told the BBJ that the firm also is about two months away from starting a new biotech company in the Boston area. The firm already has several biotech investments in the region. (And former Bostonian techie Dayna Grayson recently joined NEA as a partner, based in DC.)

—Westborough, MA-based health IT firm eClinicalWorks says it is spending $25 million to start a new unit that develops consumer health applications. The company, which focuses on electronic medical records software, hopes the new initiative will be profitable next year.

The first applications will be available on smartphones, allowing patients to track medical records, medications, tests, and appointments, as well as submit questions to a doctor. More detail on the plans in the Globe and BBJ.

—Boston-based Cloudant has received an undisclosed amount of strategic investment from Samsung Ventures. The money will be used to support R&D and global expansion for the database-as-a-service company, which has about 45 employees and also reports strong growth in its revenues and customer base.

—A couple of small startup fundraising reports filed with the SEC: kWhours, which makes tablet computer software for commercial energy efficiency, has raised $1.5 million in an equity round that could grow to $2.4 million. And Democracy Ventures, which operates a website for connecting political candidates with voters, has raised about $1 million in a debt round that could grow to $1.5 million.

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