Google Pays $700M for ITA, Eli Lilly Buys Alnara, Skyhook Lands Samsung Partnership, & More Boston-Area Deals News

7/7/10Follow @xconomy

We saw news of several local acquisition deals by technology powerhouses in the past week.

—Watertown, MA-based Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, a developer of RNA interference drugs, raised $5 million in an offering of debt and options. The startup previously raised $21.4 million in Series A funding from Abingworth Management, Skyline Ventures, and Oxford Bioscience Partners. Former Oxford general partner Doug Fambrough resigned from his post in May to become CEO of Dicerna.

Google paid about $700 million to acquire Cambridge, MA-based ITA Software, and in turn has entered the travel search space. ITA’s technology powers the online itineraries and pricing data systems for big airlines, as well as travel comparison sites like Orbitz, Kayak, and Farecast (Bing Travel). Early this week, Greg wrote a piece about what the deal could mean for the Cambridge innovation scene and others in the travel search engine space.

—Cambridge-based Alnara Pharmaceuticals was bought by drug giant Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY). The companies didn’t reveal financial terms of the acquisition. Alnara, which has applied for FDA approval of its enzyme supplement liprotamase, a treatment for the genetic disorder cystic fibrosis, has raised about $55 million in venture capital financing in its two-year history, from investors such as Bessemer Venture Partners, Frazier Healthcare Ventures, Longwood Founders Fund, MPM Capital, and Third Rock Ventures.

—Geo-location firm Skyhook Wireless announced an agreement that brings its technology, which determines a device’s location based on the identities of nearby Wi-Fi networks, to Samsung mobile devices. No financial details were disclosed for the deal, which adds another big name to Boston-based Skyhook’s roster of heavy-hitting technology partners, including Apple (iPhone and iPad), Motorola (Android phones), Dell, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments.

—Portland, ME-based Fetch Industries, an operator of a website selling high-end dog supplies, raised $933,900 of a planned $1.5 million equity offering. Last year the company raised $4 million in a round led by Borealis Ventures and Harbor Light Capital Partners.

—Venrock, a venture capital firm with offices in Silicon Valley, the Boston area, New York, and Israel, announced it has closed its sixth venture fund at $350 million. The new Venrock fund will target investments in early-stage technology, healthcare, and energy companies, and follows a $600 million fund raised by the firm in 2007.

—Tyngsboro, MA-based Beacon Power, a developer of flywheel energy storage technology, announced a deal in which it will sell up to $25 million of its common stock over 26 months to Chicago-based Aspire Capital Fund. The agreement enables Beacon (NASDAQ: BCON) to instruct Aspire to purchase up to 400,000 of its shares for at least 34 cents each, on any trading day when the closing share price of Beacon’s stock is greater than 25 cents. Beacon said it will use the money it raises in the deal for working capital and general corporate purposes.

—EMC (NYSE: EMC), the Hopkinton, MA-based maker of data storage software, said it will acquire San Mateo, CA-based Greenplum, which makes software for corporate data warehousing and analytics. The companies did not disclose financial details of the deal, but EMC said that Greenplum’s CEO will lead a new data computing division within the company.

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