Amylin Dissidents Win Board Seats, Targeted Genetics’ Troubles Raise Gene Therapy Concerns, Celladon Eyes Partnership, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

6/4/09Follow @bvbigelow

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development partner in the near future. Celladon has enrolled about half the patients it needs for a mid-stage trial of its gene therapy for heart failure.

—San Diego’s Senomyx (NASDAQ: SNMX), which uses biotechnology tools to develop compounds that enhance or block key flavors, says one of its corporate partners is expected to begin commercializing one of its sweet flavor enhancers later this year. Senomyx CEO Kent Snyder told me that Firmenich, the Swiss flavor and perfume company, plans to launch S2383, a molecule his company developed to enhance the taste of sucralose, the sweetener used in Splenda. Snyder also said Senomyx has more flavor ingredients in its development pipeline.

—Raj Krishnan, a bioengineering Ph.D. student at UC San Diego, has won three first-place awards in graduate research competitions this year for his work in developing a new early stage cancer-screening test. Topping that, Krishnan and fellow UCSD graduate students David Charlot and Roy Lefkowitz, won the $40,000 first prize in the annual UCSD Entrepreneur Challenge business plan competition for Biological Dynamics, the startup Krishnan founded to develop his diagnostic technology.

Novocell, a San Diego stem cell engineering startup, received its second U.S. patent covering the use of endoderm cells derived from human embryonic stem cells for drug discovery. The technology represents a potential stem cell treatment for diabetes. As Luke reported, the strength of Novocell’s intellectual property is one of the things that led CEO John West to join the company a month ago.

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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