Boston-Power Gets a Charge Out of HP, Semprus Seizes $8M, Alnylam Expands Patent Position, & More Boston-Area Deals News

12/12/08

How about half a dozen venture deals to brighten a dreary New England week? Those, and the rest of the Boston-area deals news, below.

—Several Boston-area firms helped funnel $40 million into cellulosic ethanol startup Coskata of Warrenville, IL. The Series C round was led by the new Cleantech Venture Fund of Blackstone Group, which has offices in New York, Boston, and several other cities, and was joined by Advanced Technology Ventures of Waltham, MA, and Palo Alto, CA; Globespan Capital Partners of Boston, Palo Alto, and Tokyo, Japan; Greatpoint Ventures of Cambridge, MA; and Khosla Ventures of Menlo Park, CA.

—Bedford, MA-based Spire (NASDAQ: SPIR) inked a $54.9 million deal with Federal Prison Industries to supply solar cells for a photovoltaic module factory at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, NY.

—Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY) of Cambridge, MA, nabbed more than 100 active patent applications and 16 issued patents in a deal with Langhorne, PA-based Nucleonics. The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal, which Alnylam says will strengthen its rights to develop RNAi-based drugs.

—Cambridge, MA-based Ascent Therapeutics granted Novartis rights to co-develop a new class of therapies called “pepducins” in a deal worth as much as $200 million.

—Venrock, which has offices in Cambridge, MA, led a $10 million Series B investment in Media, PA-based Aria Systems, a provider of Web-based billing services. Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Dave Labuda, both previous investors, joined the round.

—Taunton, MA-based semiconductor manufacturer Kopin (NASDAQ: KOPN) announced plans to buy back up to $15 million in company stock.

—Needham, MA-based Mobicious raised $5 million in new funding from North Bridge Venture Partners and Carmel Ventures to support its SnapMyLife photo-sharing community. The financing brings the startup’s total venture backing to $9 million.

—Westborough, MA-based Boston-Power found its first big customer for its next-generation lithium-ion batteries, thanks to a deal with Hewlett-Packard. The devices, which charge much faster than their conventional counterparts and hold their capacity longer, will be sold as “HP Enviro Series” replacement laptop batteries and will be available from early next year.

—Newton Highlands, MA-based Lucid Imagination, which provides support and services for the open-source search technologies Lucene and Solr, reportedly collected $6 million out of a $7.5 million Series A financing round from such investors as Granite Ventures and Walden International.

Spark Capital co-led a $4.5 million Series B financing round for New York-based microblogging platform Tumblr. Union Square Ventures was the other lead investor in the round.

Salary.com of Waltham, MA, forged an agreement to acquire human resource-management software provider Genesys Software Systems for $6.8 million in cash and stock and up to $2 million in additional payments.

—Cambridge, MA-based Semprus BioSciences reportedly raised $8 million in a Series A financing round co-led by 5AM Ventures and Pangaea Ventures. Semprus is developing antimicrobial coatings for medical devices.

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