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Bio Roundup: Tax Cuts, Drug Approval Record, New Flagship Cash & More

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a modest benefit over trastuzumab and chemo alone in keeping patients cancer-free. FDA also gave full approval to the pertuzumab combination in patients before surgery.

—Having completed an FDA application for what could be the first RNA interference medicine on the market, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY) and partner Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) have now filed for approval of the drug patisiran in Europe as well.

—The FDA approved netarsudil (Rhopressa), a glaucoma drug from Aerie Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AERI). But the drug’s commercial prospects are unclear due to questions about the drug’s tolerability and effectiveness relative to other therapies.

—Loxo Oncology (NASDAQ: LOXO) also began submitting paperwork to the FDA for larotrectinib, a drug being developed for tumors that have a genetic alteration known as a TRK—regardless of what tissue they originated in.

—A Shire (NASDAQ: SHPG) drug for Hunter syndrome, a rare enzyme deficiency that affects mostly boys, failed a late-stage clinical trial.

—An Alzheimer’s disease drug that Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) and Eisai are testing fell short of its goal, according to interim results from a mid-stage study. But the partners plan to complete the trial, which they hope will show better results.

DOLLARS & DEALS

—Roche paid $1.7 billion to acquire San Diego-based Ignyta (NASDAQ: RXDX), which, like Loxo, is aiming for a tissue-agnostic FDA approval of a cancer drug.

—Cambridge, MA, biotech Aura Biosciences raised a $30 million Series C to continue developing a light-activated nanoparticle therapy for the rare eye cancer, ocular melanoma.

—London biotech Orchard Therapeutics, which is developing gene therapies for a variety of rare diseases, raised a $110 million Series B round.

—Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ: RARE) sold a priority review voucher to Novartis (NYSE: NVS) for $130 million, cash that the Novato, CA-based company plans to apply to its rare disease drug pipeline.

—Biogen and Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IONS), which teamed together to develop the first approved therapy for spinal muscular atrophy, nusinersen (Spinraza), joined up in a new alliance to develop additional drugs for SMA.

—Cambridge, MA-based Flagship Pioneering hauled in $618 million, its biggest capital raise ever, to back a new crop of biotech startups.

MOVERS & SHAKERS

—After a five-month search, Zimmer Biomet (NYSE: ZBH) appointed Bryan Hanson, a former Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) executive, CEO of the Warsaw, IN, medical device giant.

—Randy Scott, CEO of San Francisco-based genetic test firm Invitae (NASDAQ: NVTA), has joined the board of directors of privately-held liquid biopsy firm Freenome.

—This week we recapped our latest life sciences event, “New York Biotech: The Future is Now.” Check out this piece for some of the photos and main topics of conversation. And read this Q&A with Vicki Sato to hear her perspective on how to grow New York’s life sciences community.

Alex Lash and Ben Fidler contributed to this report.

Photo by Flickr user Joel Kramer via a Creative Commons license.

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