Dendreon Files FDA Application, DxBox Reaches Turning Point, ISB to Do 100 Genomes, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Seattle — 

The local life sciences scene was pretty quiet this week, although we heard more than usual from medical device companies.

—Paul Yager, the University of Washington’s chair of bioengineering, offered a detailed status update on a tool called the DxBox his lab has been developing the past four years in collaboration with Redmond, WA-based Micronics, Seattle-based PATH, and Bothell, WA-based ELITech Group, all with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They are seeking to develop a portable, fast, accurate, and rugged diagnostic tool to help doctors in the developing world, and while there’s been a lot of progress, it’s entered the “put up or shut up” phase, Yager says.

—Seattle-based Dendreon turned in its complete application to the FDA for clearance to start marketing its first drug, sipuleucel-T, (Provenge) in the U.S. This filing came a bit earlier than Dendreon had forecasted, but it’s also a lot later than the company originally hoped when it first asked the FDA for approval, which you can read more about in this Dendreon history piece I did back in April.

—The Institute for Systems Biology said it has commissioned Mountain View, CA-based Complete Genomics to sequence the full genomes of 100 individuals as part of a Huntington’s disease experiment. This experiment is said to be the largest ever to use full human genome sequences.

—We’ve seen a few medical technology companies that are seeking to repair damaged tissues without leaving behind any implantable devices, and Bothell, WA-based QuantumCor is the latest. CEO Vern Dahl described his company’s plan to do this for a form of heart failure known as mitral valve regurgitation.

—Seattle-based Calypso Medical Technologies, the maker of a device to pinpoint radiation therapy for prostate cancer to minimize side effects, formed a collaboration with Siemens Healthcare. The companies will seek to develop the technology for pancreas and lung tumors.

—We also had an insightful guest editorial from Anthony Rodriguez, a Ph.D. bioengineering student at the University of Washington and an aspiring entrepreneur. He contends that it takes a village to raise an entrepreneur, and that while a few organizations have made some effort to cultivate young entrepreneurs at the UW, the business community could be doing much more.