Early Histogen Study Offers Hope for Retreating Hairlines, Cadence Pharmaceuticals and Vertex Raise Lots of Cash, Unmanned Predator Begins New Air Patrol, & More San Diego BizTech News

2/23/09Follow @bvbigelow

It was the best of times and worst of times for the life sciences in San Diego last week. Stalwarts Cadence Pharmaceuticals and Vertex Pharmaceuticals raised cash to expand their businesses, while La Jolla Pharmaceutical and 4-D Neuroimaging basically went in the opposite direction. Biofuels also were back in the news, along with the unmanned Predator surveillance aircraft, so read on!

—San Diego-based Histogen CEO Gail Naughton was the “mane” attraction when she presented preliminary results of a hair re-growth study last week at the 4th Annual Stem Cell Summit in New York. In early results from a five-month trial, Naughton says the biotech’s injectable ReGenica compound stimulated new hair growth in men after 12 weeks.

—Cadence Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CADX) said last week it’s raising $86.6 million in a private sale of 12 million shares, which will be used to build its sales force and to market its new drug candidate, Acetavance. The San Diego biotech is working on an application for FDA approval of the drug, which is a form of the painkiller acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol) developed for intravenous use in hospitals.

—Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX), which has 200 employees in San Diego and 1,300 at its headquarters in Cambridge, MA, is raising $320 million in a secondary offering of stock. The biotech is in the final, extremely expensive phase of developing new drug candidates for treating hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis.

—In a subsequent interview, Vertex chief financial officer Ian Smith told Luke the offering also marks a shift to “blue-blood” investment firms that prefer … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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