Three Local Biotechs Raising Cash

6/4/09

Three San Diego-based biopharmaceutical startups have been raising capital, according to recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Valor Medical, which was founded in 2007, has raised $3.1 million of an $8 million offering, according to a recent SEC filing.  CEO H. Clark Adams says this is a partial close of a Series B round, the investors were individuals, and the company expects to have a final close by the end of the month. Valor is developing a treatment for a brain aneurysm that is administered through a microinfusion catheter. According to Clark, the funds will be used for completing requirements for their mandatory European conformity mark, scaling up for commercial launch in Europe next year, and beginning U.S. clinical trials. Valor was founded by UC San Diego Radiology & Neurosurgery Professor Charles Kerber, who serves as its president.

Tocagen, which is developing gene therapy treatments for terminally ill cancer patients, has raised $10.8 million in an $11.2 million equity offering that began in September, according to its regulatory filing.  Tocagen was founded in 2007 by Harry Gruber, a San Diego serial entrepreneur who previously founded local biotechs Gensia Pharmaceuticals, Viagene, Aramed, and Metabasis, Inc. Gruber also founded Intervu, a San Diego Internet media startup acquired in 2000 by Akamai Technologies in a deal valued at $2.8 billion, and Kintera, which provided Web-based software used by non-profit organizations to raise funds. Neither Gruber nor Tom Darcy, Tocagen’s chief financial officer, responded to email queries seeking information. According to information on Tocagen’s website, the startup is developing treatments for two deadly types of cancers, glioblastoma multiforme (a type of brain tumor), and malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer).

Zogenix, which was founded in 2006 and was previously known as SJ2 Therapeutics, is raising $3.1 million through a combination of debt, warrants, and securities, according to a recent SEC filing. Zogenix is a specialty pharmaceutical startup developing two drug candidates for treating central nervous system disorders and pain. According to the Zogenix website, current investors are Abingworth Management, Clarus Ventures, Domain Associates, Scale Venture Partners, Thomas, McNerney & Partners, Life Science Angels, and Windamere Venture Partners. Chairman and co-founder Cam Garner has founded six other specialty pharmaceutical companies.

[Xconomy San Diego Editor Bruce V. Bigelow contributed to this report]

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