Sciele Pharma Cancels Victory Pharma Buyout, Life Science Startups Raise Capital, Sorrento Therapeutics Engineers Reverse Merger, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

7/16/09Follow @bvbigelow

We saw a couple of San Diego’s life sciences companies successfully raise capital in the past week. But a couple of others experienced problems that would have been difficult to anticipate.

Sciele Pharma, an Atlanta, GA, unit of Japan’s Shionogi & Co. left San Diego’s Victory Pharma at the altar last week, after announcing in May that it would acquire Victory Pharma for $150 million. Sciele said only that the cancellation was due to an unforseen development after the agreement was signed. However, Denise found that an FDA advisory committee’s call for banning drugs that combine acetaminophen and narcotics could affect two of the pain relievers marketed by Victory Pharma.

—San Diego’s Sorrento Therapeutics, which raised $2.3 million in June, announced it has arranged a reverse merger with QuikByte Software, a Florida company with registered securities but is no longer in business. Once the merger is completed, Sorrento Therapeutics will take over the dormant shell company to become a publicly traded company. QuikByte will officially be renamed and relocate its headquarters to San Diego. The deal, which is expected to close by the end of September, is subject to QuikByte getting an aggregate investment of $2 million. Sorrento Therapeutics specializes in new methods for developing fully human monoclonal antibodies. Antonius Schuh will continue to head the startup as CEO.

—Telegraph Hill Partners, a San Francisco private equity firm, has put $5 million in venture funding into Poway, CA-based Nexus Biosystems, a four-year-old biotech. Nexus specializes in making automated sample storage and retrieval systems for use by biotech laboratories in storing biological samples.

TorreyPines Therapeutics is trying again today to muster enough shareholder votes to approve a liquidation plan for the San Diego biotech. The company had to continue its special shareholder meeting last week after failing to get a simple majority of shareholder votes to approve a measure to dissolve the company.

—Carlsbad, CA-based biomedical diagnostics startup Helixis has raised $5.5 million out of a planned secondary round of $6.5 million in venture capital funding. The company plans to commercialize advanced molecular diagnostic technology developed by two prominent Caltech scientists.

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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