East Coast Biotech Roundup: X4, Rgenix, Alnylam, Intellia & More

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partnered off had he known some things he knows now about the potential of subcutaneous RNAi drugs. Shares of Medicines Co., meanwhile, are up about 20 percent this week.

—Cambridge-based Sage Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SAGE) said that it’s seen enough positive signs from a small, exploratory study in patients with essential tremor to move a program into Phase 2 testing. The catch: it won’t be SAGE-547, the drug Sage used in the trial. CEO Jeff Jonas explained why; Sage is using its lead drug as a “probe” in tiny exploratory studies in various diseases, to see if follow-on drugs that work in the same way might have a chance to succeed.

—Waltham, MA-based Tesaro (NASDAQ: TSRO) has officially made the transition to a commercial-stage company, having won FDA approval of rolapitant (Varubi), an anti-nausea drug for cancer patients. Now the question is just how well rolapitant will sell in a competitive market with a number of already approved drugs, among them Merck’s aprepitant (Emend). Tesaro hasn’t yet disclosed the price of rolapitant.

—Cambridge-based Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARIA) became a case study in how M&A rumors affect stock prices. Ariad shares soared 42 percent on a Bloomberg report that Baxalta was weighing a buyout, and then plummeted back to similar levels after a follow-up story dispelled those rumors claiming talks had broken off.

—The FDA granted a priority review to New York-based Intercept Pharmaceuticals’s (NASDAQ: ICPT) experimental drug obeticholic acid as a treatment for primary biliary cirrhosis. The agency will decide whether to approve the drug by Feb. 29.

—The agency this week also bestowed fast track and qualified infectious disease product designations to Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals’s (NASDAQ: TTPH) intravenous formulation of TP-271, a broad spectrum antibiotic for a variety of respiratory bacterial infections. These designations are meant to speed up the FDA’s review of the drug.

—Amesbury, MA-based Ivenix, a medtech company with a next-gen infusion pump, got $42 million in venture funding led by WuXi Healthcare Ventures. The company’s pump delivery system delivers drugs at a steady, consistent rate and doesn’t require adjustment from nurses.

—Google, Paris-based drug giant Sanofi, and Boston-based Joslin Diabetes Center are teaming up in a bid to improve care and outcomes for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The companies plan to work together to develop new tools to monitor and intervene with the disease.

David Holley contributed to this report

—Photo of Boston Skyline from Malone Park in Chelsea. Photo by Flickr user Bill Damon, used under Creative Commons license.

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