ZymoGenetics Cuts Big Deal, Pathway Unveils Strategy, Chris Rivera Takes Over at WBBA & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Seattle — 

This week the biotech industry converged on San Francisco’s Union Square for the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Plenty of investors were licking their wounds from a rough year, but there was still news to get the juices flowing, including one lucrative partnership out of Seattle.

—ZymoGenetics (NASDAQ: ZGEN) made the biggest headline of this year’s JP Morgan Conference (even the Bostonians I interviewed were buzzing). The Seattle-based biotech company will receive $85 million upfront from Bristol-Myers Squibb and as much as $1.1 billion in milestone payments in exchange for rights to co-market a new drug for hepatitis C that’s supposed to have milder side effects than the standard treatment.

—Pathway Medical, the Kirkland, WA-based company that makes has a device to clear out fatty blockages in leg arteries, unveiled its new CEO and marketing strategy at the JP Morgan Healthcare conference.

—I sat down for a two-part interview with Chris Rivera, the former biotech marketing veteran who was hired to be the new president of the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association. In the first part, he talked about why he took this job; he explained more of his strategy in the second installment.

—SonoSite, the Bothell, WA-based maker of portable ultrasound machines, said its revenues rose 19 percent in 2008, although things slowed down a bit to 5 to 10 percent growth in the fourth quarter.

—This was a feature on the Washington Global Health Alliance, which aims to corral the big players in the state’s global health arena to form tighter collaborations. Lisa Cohen, a former TV news producer spearheading the effort, talked about how she got inspired to do this.