IkaSystems Raises $120M, New CEOs of Qteros, Bind, and Quanterix Dish the Dirt, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

1/20/10

This week Ryan and Luke had several great interviews with some of the newest CEOs in New England life sciences. Those and the rest of the week’s biotech, devices, and health IT news below.

—Luke caught up with Steve Gullans, a managing director with Excel Venture Management, who reports that his Boston-based venture firm is having a good year at a time when others are struggling. Early successes among Excel’s portfolio companies include San Diego-based Synthetic Genomics’ $600 million investment from Exxon Mobile and Woburn, MA-based BioTrove’s acquisition by Carlsbad, CA-based Life Technologies.

—Ryan scored an interview with John McCarthy, the new CEO of Marlborough, MA-based Qteros, a developer of cellulosic ethanol technology. McCarthy was formerly the executive vice president at Cambridge, MA-based cellulosic ethanol developer Verenium (NASDAQ:VRNM), and aims to help Qteros cut partnership deals like the $90 million one with energy giant BP he helped Verenium ink in 2008.

—Ryan also chatted with Scott Minick, the new CEO of Cambridge-based Bind Biosciences, which recently closed an $11 million Series C round of venture capital led by businessman and philanthropist David Koch. Minick invested in Bind, a developer of highly targeted nanoparticle-based drugs, in 2007, as a managing partner at Arch Venture Partners; he ended an 11-year tenure at Arch to become Bind’s full-time CEO.

—Waltham, MA-based Polaris Venture Partners and Arch Venture Partners, which has operations in Boston and Seattle, reportedly agreed to pay $14 million for the assets of Iceland-based genomics firm deCode Genetics (NASDAQ:DCGN), which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November. Both venture firms previously invested in deCode.

—Yet another newish CEO, Dave Okrongly of Quanterix, told Luke about his big dreams for his Cambridge-based firm. Chief among them: using technology developed in the Tufts University lab of David Walt to capture the $8 billion market for antibody-based diagnostics.

— Southborough-MA-based IkaSystems, a maker of software for healthcare payers, raised a combined $120 million from private equity fund Essex Woodlands Health Ventures and Providence Equity Partners, according to Venture Wire.

Cardiorobotics of Middletown, RI, raised $5 million in equity investments, according to an SEC filing. Founded by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, the startup develops robotic probes for surgical applications, among other things.

—Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO) of Waltham said it will pay $145 million in cash for Ahura Scientific, which makes handheld detectors of chemicals and metal for the pharmaceutical and security markets. Backers of Wilmington, MA-based Ahura include Arch Venture Partners, Waltham, MA-based Castile Ventures, California’s Fuse Capital, and GF Private Equity Group, of Durango, CO.

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