VC Biotech Funding Rebounds, Biogen Idec Co-Founder Resigns From Board, Pathway Genomics Debuts $250 Personal Genome Test, & More San Diego Life Sciences News
Venture capital funding for San Diego’s life sciences companies was surprisingly strong from April through June—with another deal announced this week.
—One of the key trends to be teased out of venture capital investment data for the second quarter of this year is that VC funding for life science companies rebounded to record levels. In San Diego $154 million of nearly $209 million invested from April through June went into 13 life sciences startups, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. Three of San Diego’s five biggest VC deals were for biotech companies: PhotoThera, $50 million; Intellikine, $28.5 million; and SkinMedica, $9.4 million.
—Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) became subject to considerable boardroom intrigue after activist investor Carl Icahn succeeded in getting two new directors elected to the board of the Cambridge, MA-based company. So now shareholders and media mavens are puzzling over the unexpected resignation of Phillip Sharp, the Nobel-Prize-winning biologist and Biogen co-founder, from the board where he has served for 27 years. Ryan reports that Biogen’s board will decide whether or not to replace Sharp on what is now a 12-member board of directors.
—In a data dump earlier this week, Orexigen (NASDAQ: OREX) said its drug candidate for treating obesity helped people lose weight in all three of its big clinical trials. The San Diego biotech said its drug, a longer-lasting form of two generic compounds, has cleared enough hurdles for Orexigen to file a new drug application to the FDA by this time next year.
—Speaking of VC funding of life science companies, San Diego’s BeneChill said this week it has raised $13.5 million in a Series C round of venture funding. BeneChill plans to use the proceeds to fund early commercialization of RhinoChill, a portable medical device that uses hypothermia to treat patients with cardiac arrest, stroke, or head injury.
—San Diego’s Pathway Genomics made its debut last week by announcing it can test consumers for their genetic risk for more than 90 health conditions for $250. The startup is among several new medical diagnostic personal genome companies that are offering to help consumers decode their own personal genome to determine their risk for disease.