Montgomery Says Goodbye Gilead, Kaleetan’s Plan to Be the Next Dendreon, Calypso’s CEO Exit, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Seattle — 

This week’s roundup is short and sweet, because, as you Tweeps out there know from following me on Twitter, I took a few days off to summit Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood with an old college buddy.

—Before I headed to the wilderness with no BlackBerry access, I broke the story on Bruce Montgomery‘s decision to step down from his post as the top official at Gilead Sciences’ operation in Seattle. Montgomery, one of Seattle biotech’s mover/shakers, told me he hasn’t yet decided on his next move, but he’s scoping out startup ideas.

—Plenty of biotechs want to piggyback on the success of Seattle-based Dendreon, and the latest to join the list is a Seattle startup called Kaleetan Pharmaceuticals. This company has some big-name scientific founders with Jeff Ledbetter, Martha Hayden-Ledbetter, and Cassian Yee. The idea is to stimulate dendritic cells to trigger an immune reaction against tumors, but with an off-the-shelf protein drug that doesn’t have the complicated logistics of Dendreon’s product for prostate cancer.

—While I was out, our new assistant editor Thea Chard broke the news that Calypso Medical Technologies CEO Eric Meier has left the company after 10 years at the helm. Calypso, the Seattle-based maker of a pinpointed radiation system for prostate cancer treatment, laid off a handful of people as well, even though it raised $50 million in venture capital last year.

Alectos Therapeutics, a Vancouver, BC-based company, said it has formed a research collaboration with pharma giant Merck & Co. to hunt for new Alzheimer’s drugs. Alectos, a spinoff from Simon Fraser University, could receive as much as $289 million in upfront cash and milestone payments, plus royalties on sales if the partnership leads to any marketed products.

—Xconomy founder and CEO Bob Buderi had a fun column this week, in which he quotes an MIT professor who is pushing for an entrepreneurial walk of fame in Cambridge, MA’s epicenter of innovation, Kendall Square. Bob suggests this idea should be replicated in other innovation hubs, like Seattle. If you have any suggestions on where this ought to be in Seattle, or who should be included, please leave a comment at the end of this piece.

—We ran a really interesting guest editorial from Ron Conway, the famed Silicon Valley angel investor, about why he does what he does. Hint: if it were really only about money, he’d probably be sipping margaritas on an island somewhere.