Vertex’s $320M SPO, Verenium and BP’s Joint Venture, Genocea’s $23M Series A, & More Boston-Area Deals News

2/20/09

We’ve got several different venture deals to talk about this week, as well as an acquisition, a sizeable secondary offering, and other interesting transactions from New England’s tech and life sciences firms.

—Cardiac implant maker HeartWare International (ASX: HIN) of Framingham, MA, agreed to a $282 million acquisition offer from Pleasanton, CA-based Thoratec (NASDAQ: THOR). The half stock, half cash deal is expected to close in the second half of 2009.

—Boston’s Globespan Capital Partners participated in an $18.5 million financing for Longmont, CO-based data-archiving-hardware maker COPAN Systems. Westbury Partners led the round, which was joined by Austin Ventures, Firstmark Capital, and Credit Suisse.

GlaxoSmithKline paid Lexington, MA-based Synta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SNTA) $10 million for reaching an operational milestone in the development of the drug elesclomol as a treatment for metastatic melanoma.

—Oasys Water—a Cambridge, MA-based startup developing technology for converting salt water into potable drinking water—raised $10 million in a financing led by Advanced Technology Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Flagship Ventures.

—North Bridge Venture Partners of Waltham, MA, participated in a $15 million Series B funding round for OfferPal Media, a Fremont, CA-based marketer targeting consumers who use social networking sites like Facebook, Bebo, and MySpace. D.E. Shaw Ventures led the round and InterWest Partners also participated.

—Cambridge, MA-based Verenium (NASDAQ: VRNM) forged a joint venture with British Petroleum (NYSE: BP) to build commercial-scale biofuel plants in the United States. BP will put $22.5 million into the venture, and Verenium, whose proprietary microbes break down sugar cane and other high-cellulose materials into ethanol, will contribute “development assets,” including two planned biofuel plant projects valued at $22.5 million.

—Cambridge, MA-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX) announced a secondary public offering of 10 million new shares, priced at $32 apiece; the offering was underwritten by Merrill Lynch and Cowen & Co. Luke learned more about the deal and Vertex’s strategy from its CFO, Ian Smith.

—Burlington, MA-based thermal imaging camera maker RedShift Systems raised $6 million in a second round of financing led by new investor Emerson (NYSE:EMR) of St. Louis.

—Vaccine-discovery startup Genocea Biosciences of Cambridge, MA, raised $23 million in a Series A funding round led by SR One. New investors Auriga Partners, Cycad Group, and Alexandria Real Estate Equities participated in the deal, as did return backers Lux Capital Management, Polaris Venture Partners, and Morningside Ventures.

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