Vertex Scores $105M For Asian Telaprevir Rights, Avila Avails Itself of $30M, IBM Picks Up Ounce Labs, & More Boston-Area Deals News

7/31/09

Is it just me, or is the roundup of New England technology and life sciences deals news getting a little longer each week?

Matrix Partners of Waltham, MA, reportedly raised $600 million for two new funds. A $450 million main fund is to be invested in software, mobile, consumer Internet, communications, and systems startups, and a $150 million special opportunities fund will be used to back companies outside of Matrix’s core fields.

—Drug developer Avila Therapeutics, also of Waltham, closed a $30 million Series B round of venture capital led by the Novartis Option Fund. Abingworth Management, Advent Venture Partners, Atlas Venture, and Polaris Venture Partners joined the deal.

—Waltham’s Phase Forward (NASDAQ: PFWD), a provider of software for data collection and analysis during clinical trials, acquired Indianapolis, IN-based Maaguzi for $11 million in cash. Maaguzi’s online system is used to collect data reported directly by patients.

—Cambridge, MA-based Cerulean Pharma raised $10 million in a Series B financing round. Polaris Venture Partners, Venrock Associates, Lux Capital, and Bessemer Venture Partners—all return investors—participated in the deal, which will help support clinical trial’s of Cerulean’s lead drug, a nanoparticle-based version of the anti-cancer molecule camptothecin.

FRX Polymers, a maker of eco-friendly, flame-resistant plastics based in Chelmsford, MA, said it has raised $6 million from Israel Cleantech Ventures and Capricorn Venture Partners.

—Needham, MA-based Extreme Reach, a provider of management tools for online and mobile video advertising, raised an unspecified amount of new financing from Village Ventures, Greycroft Partners, and Long River Ventures.

Ounce Labs, a Waltham, MA-based maker of security and compliance software, was acquired by IBM for an undisclosed amount. The company’s technology scans the source code of programs during software development to identify potential vulnerabilities early on, and can also help spot sources of security and compliance trouble in legacy systems.

—Burlington, MA-based software maker Vela Systems completed a $10.5 million equity financing from unnamed investors. Vela, whose technology allows construction companies to manage their paperwork using mobile devices, took in the first $6 million of the round in July 2007.

—Cambridge-based Forma Therapeutics inked a drug-discovery deal with Swiss drug giant Novartis; specific terms of the arrangement weren’t disclosed.

—Dana-Farber Cancer Institute spinoff MSM Protein Technologies announced partnerships with Germany’s Merck KGaA, and Switzerland’s Debiopharm Group. The deals will give the European firms access to the Medford, MA-based startup’s technology for analyzing complicated biological molecules called multi-spanning membrane proteins, which are the targets of many drugs.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) of Cambridge scored $105 million up front in an amended deal with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma. The agreement gives Mitsubishi rights to sell and manufacture Vertex’s experimental hepatitis C treatment, telaprevir, for use in combination with the existing drugs interferon and ribavirin in Japan and the Far East.

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