Boston Roundup: A123, Moderna, Wayfair, Skyhook, & More
Some big meltdown and fundraising news on our radar in the past week or so:
—Major Chinese autoparts firm Wanxiang won a secretive bankruptcy auction for most of the assets of Waltham-based A123 Systems, the advanced battery maker that sought court protection late last year amid fallng orders and and manufacturing problems.
But that’s not the end of the story for whatever becomes of A123’s employees and factories around the U.S. and the globe. Because the parent company behind the winning auction bid is based outside the country, a federal committeee must review the takeover.
That gives opponents of the Obama administration a chance to tee off: A123 got about $130 million in federal stimulus money to help build new factories, among other government aid.
—Moderna Therapeutics, the biotech startup with big-name backers and some $40 million in investment raised to date, took the wraps off what it’s attempting to do.
It’s a big target: Moderna hopes to change the dominant way of producing protein drugs by making those substances inside the body, instead of coaxing genetically engineered bacteria to produce them in a lab.
Moderna aims to do this by injecting a modified version of messenger RNA—something the company has already tested in mice, rats, and monkeys. The biggest hurdle, as always, is human subjects.
—Wayfair, the Boston-based online home goods retailer, reeled in another $36 million and change. The company says the cash is intended to expand its “flash sales” property, Joss & Main.
That brings the total invested in Wayfair to more than $200 million, making it perhaps the most heavily funded private tech company in the Boston area. And that’s after just two rounds of funding: After bootstrapping itself to profitability, Wayfair took on $165 million for its first round of venture financing last year.
—We brought a good crowd together for our latest Xconomy forum, this one discussing the future of health IT. Check out our 10 big takeaways from that event, including insights on how politics and public policy are affecting health tech, why data is like that fateful red pill from “The Matrix,” why health IT needs its version of the PayPal Mafia, and an appearance from a robot.
—Skyhook, the mobile location provider that has registered headline-grabbing encounters with Apple and Google, abruptly replaced founder Ted Morgan as CEO. The new boss, Jeff Glass, comes from Bain Capital—but he’s also got tech exec experience, previously serving as CEO of m-Qube.
Glass tells us that, although there have been the expected potential suitors over the years, “There is absolutely no mandate at all to sell.” The company’s lawsuit against Google winds on, with a lengthy legal battle likely.
—HealthEdge, a Burlington, MA-based provider of healthcare payment software, says it has acquired a company called Click4Care. The deal brings Click4Care’s healthcare management software to the HealthEdge offerings, making the software portfolio more complete for possible customers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Click4Care is based in Powell, OH.
—Testive, a Cambridge, MA-based education tech startup, has raised a $500,000 seed financing round from angel investors including Jean Hammond, Eileen Rudden, Dharmesh Shah, and Bill Warner. The company, which makes test-preparation software, graduated from the TechStars Boston accelerator program earlier this year.