Xconomy Report For Oct. 28, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
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Oct. 28, 2011

BOSTON — The top story in innovation this week is that Weston-based Biogen Idec met its goals in a second clinical trial of the company's first pill for multiple sclerosis (MS). The neurodegenerative disease affects 400,000 patients in the U.S.; Biogen is the world’s largest MS drugmaker, selling injectable treatments. In the study, Biogen’s pill reduced MS flareups by 44 percent when patients took it twice a day and by 51 percent when they took it three times a day. It’s an important milestone for Biogen, since two of its competitors — Novartis and Acorda Therapeutics — have already gained FDA approval for oral MS treatments.
In other news, Bedford-based iRobot, the maker of Roomba vacuum cleaners and military PackBots, reported a strong third-quarter profit but laid off 8 percent of its staff — a total of 55 workers — across Massachusetts, North Carolina and California.
MassChallenge, the Boston startup accelerator and business competition, awarded $1 million in prizes among 17 startups. Alkeus Pharmaceuticals, Sanergy and Tinfoil Security led the way with $100,000 each.

More broadly, Bay State companies raised $250 million in venture capital last month. The total for the third quarter was $505 million, down by about half from the previous quarter, when there was talk of a new tech bubble.

The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on WGBH 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report For Oct. 21, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011
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Oct. 21, 2011

BOSTON — A Boston-area tech company is involved in one of the most ambitious federal projects of our time. Security Innovation, based in Wilmington, makes the software behind what could be the nation’s first wireless collision avoidance system for cars. A pilot study of 3,000 cars is rolling out next year. Eventually, all cars made in the U.S. could be required to have the technology. 
In other innovation news:
Boston-based Third Rock Ventures put $35 million behind a new company, Sage Therapeutics, that aims to develop a novel class of drugs for schizophrenia, depression, and other brain disorders.
Cambridge-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals is seeking FDA approval for a drug that would offer a new way of treating cystic fibrosis.
Finally, two deals this week continue a recent trend of Boston-area tech companies being bought out by West Coast giants. Endeca Technologies, an enterprise search company in Cambridge, is being acquired by Oracle for an undisclosed sum. Boxborough-based BNI Video, a startup that makes Internet software for cable companies, is being snapped up by Cisco for $99 million.

The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on WGBH 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

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