Altus to wind down ops as it runs out of cash; Neurocrine lines up $75M in new financing

> Cambridge, MA-based Altus Pharmaceuticals is calling it quits after failing to raise new investment capital. The developer says it is laying off its remaining staff, suspending a mid-stage trial of a growth hormone and winding down operations. Altus laid off most of its staff in August as it ran out of cash. Report 

> Neurocrine Biosciences has forged a deal that will give it up to $75 million in new financing from Kingsbridge Capital. Kingsbridge can acquire newly-issued stock at a discount. Neurocrine has an endometriosis therapy in mid-stage trials. Neurocrine release

> Pervasis Therapeutics has reeled in $10 million of a $17 million third round. Flagship Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners and Highland Capital Partners all joined in the round, with the Richter Family Fund jumping in for the first time. Pervasis release

> A struggling CombiMatrix has brought in Robert W. Baird & Co. as a strategic adviser. Release

> Researchers say that Wyeth's osteoporosis drug bazedoxifene reduced the risk of fractures among women in a large clinical trial that stretched over three years. Wyeth tested the drug in comparison to a competing therapy as well as a placebo. Report

> The Iowa biotech KemPharm has closed on a $3.8 million Series B financing round. Story

> Nasdaq notified Hollis-Eden that it is in violoation of its minimum bid price rule. Release

> Biotech officials in Maryland celebrated the opening of the Maryland Biotechnology Center, which is designed to help start-up biotech companies get established. Report

Pharma News

> Japan's Taisho Pharmaceutical is spending $310 million to further assert itself as a prominent Asian drugmaker. Report

> Yesterday's order by U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner that GlaxoSmithKline turn over correspondence with researchers studying Paxil-related birth defects has been followed by details, read during opening statements in the trial, that a GSK exec wrote about allegedly burying negative study results. Report

Manufacturing News

> In a good news/bad news scenario, Massachusetts is getting the bad news first: AstraZeneca will be cutting 113 jobs at its manufacturing plant in Westborough, about 30 miles west of Boston. Report

> An imminent skills shortage has spurred U.K. drug makers to form a national academy to aid in the development of manufacturing professionals. Report

> Millipore and the newly formed Roka Bioscience say they are jointly developing molecular assays and portable instruments for biopharmaceutical production. Roka is a spinoff of Gen-Probe. Article

> Brand security is the target of a three-way collaboration including serialization and authentication service provider PHARMORX, label maker MSO Group, and ink provider Sun Chemical. Item

And Finally... Check back on later today for an update on the FDA panel vote on Auxilium's Xiaflex, an experimental therapy for Dupuytren's contracture. Report