Biodesix Closes $8.3M Round, New Clovis Shareholders Begin Selling

12/3/13Follow @MichaelXBD

Biodesix, a medical diagnostics startup based in Boulder, CO, has raised an $8.3 million Series E round, the company announced Monday. The round included $4.3 million in new funds from existing investors and the conversion of a $4 million convertible note, Biodesix said in its release.

Biodesix has now raised about $78 million since forming in 2005. It will use the money from the latest round to further develop its pipeline of medical tests based on multivariate protein diagnostics.

Biodesix also will expand the sales and marketing efforts for VeriStrat, a test used in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer that is the company’s first product. The company markets the test to oncologists, in the hopes that VeriStrat can provide information that helps them decide whether to treat patients with Genentech and Astellas Pharma’s erlotinib (Tarceva) or single-agent chemotherapy.

VeriStrat showed positive results in a Phase 3 trial earlier this year, Biodesix said. The trial showed the test met its main goal of predicting which treatment was most effective for patients who already had undergone one unsuccessful round of treatment. Prior to the study, VeriStrat was sold commercially but had limited sales because it had not passed a prospective study, CEO David Brunel said at the time.

In other Colorado biotech news Monday, Clovis Oncology (NASDAQ: CLVS)) announced the former owners of the Italian biotech it acquired last month have begun selling the shares of Clovis they acquired in the deal.

Clovis bought Ethical Oncology Science, or EOS, for $200 million in a deal announced Nov. 19. The deal gives Clovis exclusive development and commercialization rights to market lucitanib, a drug that could treat breast, renal, and thyroid cancer, in the U.S. and Japan. Clovis said it will work in partnership with French-firm Servier to commercialize the drug in the rest of the world.

Lucitanib is in an early-to-mid-stage clinical trial in Europe that’s designed to test a range of doses, and find the highest dose patients can tolerate. Clovis specializes in early stage drug discovery and development, and the new drug will be added to the company’s small pipeline.

Clovis and Servier say the drug could be an effective treatment for squamous non-small cell lung cancer, bladder, head and neck cancer, and other solid tumors with fibroblast growth factor aberrancies.

Of the $200 million in the deal, $190 million of which was in more than 3.7 million shares of Clovis stock. On Monday, the EOS’ former owners put up 2 million of those shares for sale in a public offering underwritten by JP Morgan Securities.

As of Monday afternoon, the shares had not been priced. Clovis’ stock closed at $62.99 per share, which would make the shares worth just less than $126 million. Money from the sale will go to the selling shareholders and not the company.

Clovis could owe EOS shareholders up to an additional $155 million in cash if lucitanib meets certain milestones.

Michael Davidson is the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver. He covers startups, venture capital, clean tech, energy, aerospace, telecoms, and whatever else happens above 5,280 feet. Contact him at mdavidson@xconomy.com. Follow @MichaelXBD

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