Phila. small pharma gets busy to start 2012

Think many people found a car under their Christmas trees? (Elizabeth Robertson / Staff Photographer)

As we await Friday's jobs report, there are some leaves to scoop out of your tea today. The Commerce Department releases its November data on factory orders at 10 a.m.

But I'm more interested in what the automakers will say about December auto sales. Think many people found a Lexus or Dodge Dart under their Christmas trees?

Some bustle at the start of the year among the region's smaller life-sciences firms. Philadelphia-based Echo Therapeutics said that it received cash proceeds of $3.6 million following exercises of warrants. Echo has been working on a glucose monitoring system for diabetics. It said its year-end cash balance was $9.2 million.

In some people-related news, the No. 2 exec at Chadds Ford-based Endo Pharmaceuticals has been named to the board of Exton-based ViroPharma. Julie McHugh, Endo's chief operating officer since March 2010, joins the eight-member board of the biopharmaceutical company that had $399 million in sales for the nine-month period ended Sept. 30.

And Blue Bell-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals promoted Niranjan Sardesai to chief operating officer from senior vice president of research and development. Inovio, which is developing synthetic vaccines, also said that its senior vice president of business development, Kevin Rassas, is retiring.