A123Systems Counts to $69M, Sun Catalytix Out to Grow Seed From Polaris, Synageva Gets $30M, & More Boston-Area Deals News

4/17/09

Many different corners of New England’s innovation empire were heard from this week.

—Return investors put $20 million in Branford, CT-based Marinus Pharmaceuticals, which plans to used the money to further development of ganaxolone, its drug for seizures and other disorders. Participants in the deal included Canaan Partners, Domain Associates, Foundation Medical Partners, and Sofinnova Ventures.

—Watertown, MA-based A123Systems counted another $69 million from investors including GE, which contributed $15 million to the round via its GE Energy Financial Services and GE Capital units. Conoco Phillips, Detroit Edison, Espirito Santo Ventures, North Bridge Venture Partners, CMEA, Alliance Bernstein, Qualcomm, Sequoia, Novus, and MIT also pitched in to help A123 ramp up production of its advanced lithium-ion batteries and move forward on its smart grid energy storage technology.

—Online video ad provider ScanScout, of Cambridge, MA, raised $5.1 million of an $8.1 million third round of financing, according to a report in PE Hub, which added that ScanScout had previously raised $7 million from General Catalyst Partners, First Round Capital, Time Warner, and angel investor Ron Conway, among others.

—Chelmsford, MA-based Reva Systems, a maker of RFID infrastructure software, took in $5 million in a deal led by previous investors North Bridge Venture Partners and Charles River Ventures.

Ensemble Discovery of Cambridge, MA, inked a deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb worth $5 million upfront, and including $7.5 million in research expenses over the next two years plus potentially $29.5 million in milestone payments per product in the future. Under the agreement, Ensemble will try to develop “Ensemblins,” a new class of drug sized in between conventional small-molecule pharmaceuticals and biotech’s typical larger protein drugs, to address eight biological targets that are difficult or impossible to hit with the smaller or larger drug types.

—Waltham, MA-based Synageva BioPharma closed a $30 million private equity financing led by Baker Brothers Investments and joined by investment funds Tullis Dickerson and Four Partners. Synageva says it plans to raise more cash in the coming weeks to support development of both novel and generic protein drugs.

—Ryan got the scoop on stealthy “solar fuel” startup Sun Catalytix, a firm launched to commercialize MIT chemistry professor Daniel Nocera’s technology for using sunlight and water to generate hydrogen fuel. Polaris Venture Partners is backing the Boston-area startup; the venture firm is tight-lipped about its investment, but PE Hub cites the VentureExpert database as saying that Sun Catalytix has completed a $700,000 seed round of financing.

—Cambridge, MA-based DataXu, a developer of Web ad targeting technology, reportedly raised $6 million in a Series A financing round. Atlas Venture and Flybridge Capital Partners were among the participants in the deal.

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