Good News and Bad News for University Endowments, ImClone and Repligen Reach Settlement, Venture Deals, Mergers, Acquisitions, and More

9/17/07

Last week left us with lots to talk about, so let’s get right to it.

—In venture news, RFID infrastructure firm Tagsys of Cambridge, MA, closed a $16 million second tranche of a Series C round totaling $35 million. Investors included J.P. Morgan, DFJ Esprit, Endeavour, Elliott Associates, Saffron Hill Ventures, and Add Partners. Shelton, CT-based IT consulting firm CRI Technologies announced it had closed a $10 million Series A round; Commonwealth Capital Ventures and Sigma Partners led the deal. (CRI used some of the cash to acquire Computer Resolutions, a virtualization consulting firm.) Boston-area biotech startup OxyPlus raised $8 million from Index Ventures in a first round; the firm is developing treatments for cancer, heart failure, and diabetic retinopathy based on the regulation of the interaction between oxygen and hemoglobin. Cambridge-based HubSpot, which offers online marketing tools for people with better things to do, took in $5 million in a first venture round led by Cambridge neighbors General Catalyst. And Boston- and Palo Alto-based Globespan Capital Partners announced it has closed its fifth fund, worth $380 million. Unlike the firm’s previous funds, this one will be used to invest directly in Japanese technology companies, among others.

— It was a week of mixed news on the university endowment front. On Wednesday, MIT announced that its endowment grew by $1.6 billion, to a total of $9.98 billion, during the fiscal year that ended June 30—thanks in large part to a healthy 22.1 percent investment return for the year. The news didn’t get a lot of play, however, perhaps because people were still buzzing about Harvard’s announcement the day before that the investment manager who helped grow its endowment to $34.9 billion—Mohamed A. El-Erian—will be stepping down after less than two years. Harvard’s less-than-enlightening announcement about El-Erian’s resignation is here.

—Waltham-based Repligen (NASDAQ: RGEN) and MIT accepted a $65 million settlement from ImClone Systems (NASDAQ: IMCL), against which they had filed suit in 2004 for patent infringement related to the sale of the cancer drug Erbitux. Repligen said that it planned to put its $40 million share of the settlement toward expanding its bioprocessing business and its central-nervous-system product pipeline. The market seemed to think Repligen got the short end of the stick: the firm closed the week at $4.29, down from Monday’s open of $4.90. (ImClone closed at $39.02, up from $36.98.)

—In M&A news, Norwood, MA’s Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI) agreed to sell its Othello radio and SoftFone baseband chipset operations to Taiwan’s MediaTek for some $350 million in cash; the Norwood firm said it will continue to address the wireless handset market by focusing on enhancing audio, video, connectivity, and power efficiency. Andover, MA-based NaviSite (NASDAQ: NAVI) announced it will acquire Virginia applications management services provider netASPx for $40.5 million in cash and stock. And acquisition-addicted diagnostics maker Inverness Medical Innovations (Amex: IMA) of Waltham completed its purchase of Hayward, CA’s Cholestech—the eighth company Inverness has acquired this year.

—Harvard Medical School and Merck announced that they have forged a cooperative research agreement to focus on oncology and central nervous system disorders. The announcement indicated that six Harvard labs will get funding through the deal, though it didn’t disclose more specific financial terms, and pointed out that the medical school is within walking distance of Merck’s research labs.

—In nearby Allston, MA, Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ) is gearing up for a ground-breaking ceremony slated for Tuesday morning to celebrate the $150-million expansion of its existing manufacturing plant. The plant produces several of Genzyme’s drugs, including Myozyme, a treatment for the inherited muscle disorder Pompe disease; Genzyme is currently awaiting FDA approval to sell Myozyme produced at the plant to U.S. customers.

—Finally, the week brought more bad news for the One Laptop Per Child project. The price tag on its “$100 laptop” jumped again, from $176 to $188. Meanwhile, production—which was supposed to begin this month—was delayed until November.

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