IBM Gets Emptoris, Nuance Buys Vlingo, & More Boston-Area Deals News

12/21/11Follow @xconomy

Acquisitions and IPO announcements dominated the deals news in New England this week.

—Boston-based Third Rock Ventures put $34 million in Series A funding into Ember Therapeutics, a startup that’s developing drugs to fight obesity in a new way. Ember, also of Boston, is harnessing new understanding of the bodily tissue known as brown fat, which can help mammals burn off the more commonly known white fat tissue.

Cerulean Pharma inked a $15 million Series D investment from new investor CVF, an affiliate of Henry Crown and Company, as well as existing backers Polaris Venture Partners, Venrock, Lilly Ventures, Lux Capital, and Bessemer Venture Partners. Cambridge, MA-based Cerulean’s lead drug is a so-called nanoparticle, a tiny chemical package designed to work its way into cancer cells and kill them.

—IBM made its 20th acquisition in the Bay State since 2003, with the purchase of Burlington, MA-based Emptoris, a maker of supply and contract management software. Emptoris has 725 employees across the globe and will become part of IBM’s software group. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

—Coronado Biosciences  (NASDAQ: CNDO) started trading on the Nasdaq on Monday at an opening price of $6.50 per share. The formerly New York-based biotech, which moved to Burlington, MA in August, took an unconventional path to going public, by registering its private shares as common stock, rather than undergoing an IPO.

—Coskata, a cellulosic ethanol developer backed by Boston-area venture firms Advanced Technology Ventures and Greatpoint Ventures, filed documents with the SEC indicating its intent to raise $100 million in an initial public offering. The Warrenville, IL-based startup has raised $80 million in venture funding since founding in 2008, and is also backed by GE, Khosla Ventures, and Blackstone Group.

—Woburn, MA-based Excelimmune took in $12 million in financing from an undisclosed private investor to help fund the development of its molecules focused on fighting infectious diseases, like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

—And in the week’s more shocking news, two speech software makers that had been battling in court over allegations like patent infringement and commercial bribery announced they would become one force. Burlington, MA-based Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) is acquiring Cambridge-based startup Vlingo for an undisclosed sum. The deal enables the two to team up as players like Apple and Google and are focusing more on voice-enabled applications for mobile phones.

—A deal that had been talked about for more than half of this year finally went live. Newton, MA-based online travel company TripAdvisor officially began trading on the Nasdaq on its own (NASDAQ: TRIP), after being spun out by Bellevue, WA-based Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE).

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