East Coast Biotech Roundup: Celgene, Chiasma, Cerulean, & More

Xconomy Boston — 

[Updated 7/19/15, 9:36 p.m. See below.] In this week’s Celgene roundup—sorry, this week’s biotech roundup—Celgene is yet again leading the way with its second billion-plus dollar deal in the last month. Beyond Celgene’s recent high level of activity, the last week has been defined by news that was expected to happen—from initial public offerings to data from clinical trials—actually happening. Deputy Biotech Editor Ben Fidler returns next week.

—Summit, NJ-based Celgene seemingly went into July with the intent to spend. It announced the $7.2 billion acquisition of San Diego-based Receptos just a couple of weeks after it agreed to become a commercial partner with Juno Therapeutics by paying $150 million upfront and buying $850 million of the Seattle biotech’s stock. With Receptos, Celgene is acquiring (among other assets) its lead drug candidate, ozanimod, which has begun late-stage trials for treating both ulcerative colitis and relapsing multiple sclerosis, as Xconomy’s Bruce Bigelow reported.

Orphan disease drug developer Chiasma raised $101.8 million in its IPO, which will help in its effort to receive regulatory approval for an oral pill for acromegaly, a condition typically treated with injectables. The company is waiting for the FDA’s take on its oral octreotide, a peptide. Other companies, such as Receptos and Milpitas, CA-based Protagonist Therapeutics, are developing peptides, too, to attack conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. [Updated to clarify that Chiasma’s oral pill is not targeting ulcerative colitis.]

—EyeGate Pharma, the Waltham, MA-based drug developer that is sacrificing worldwide rights to its lead drug in order to put it back on the path to regulatory approval, says its deal with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is about a small company getting validation and not overextending itself. CEO Stephen From says he wants to avoid mistakes the company made in the past.

By the skin of its teeth, Cerulean Pharma has the chance to bounce back from clinical testing that bombed spectacularly. The company is producing data from four early and mid-stage clinical trials of its lead drug, CRLX101, in a variety of cancers over the next year.

—In perhaps the most unique story Xconomy published this week, out of Texas of course, Consortia Health discusses its plan to help women (and men, too) with incontinence using kegels.

—Blueprint Medicines got the green light from the FDA to begin clinical trials on its two lead drug candidates for cancer, about two months after its IPO. The Cambridge, MA-based maker of a type of cancer drug called kinase inhibitors is using high-speed DNA sequencing instruments to test a homemade library of potential drugs.

—Continuing with the news that is slightly different, Newsday reported on the $100,000 that Roslyn Heights, NY-based Symbiotic Health received to work on a pill “derived from fecal matter that is used to treat patients depleted of necessary gut microbes.”

—Courtagen Life Sciences, a Woburn, MA-based company that sells genomic diagnostic and drug metabolism assays for pediatric neurology disorders, received a $20 million growth round. Investors include Harbor Light Capital Partners, Adler & Co., Bunker Hill Capital, and First Analysis.

—Watertown, MA-based pSivida announced positive results from a Phase 2 study for its drug Medidur, which targets uveitis in the back of the eye. Medidur is an injectable, micro-insert that delivers the drug, and is already approved to be used to treat macular edema under the brand Iluvien—though the path to that approval was not entirely smooth, as Xconomy has previously reported.

—One of Boston’s most notable biotech deals in the last decade was the $20.1 billion buyout of Genzyme by Sanofi. Since then, many former Genzyme employees who were once under the tutelage of Henri Termeer have taken on leadership roles in new companies, as the Boston Globe reported.