all the information, none of the junk | biotech • healthcare • life sciences

Justice Department Joins Sequenom Probe, Accumetrics Raises $16.5, Transdel’s Topical Pain Reliever Gets Mixed Results, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

The life sciences news was relatively light over the last week, except perhaps for Sequenom, the medical diagnostics company that has yet to publicly disclose much about its misconduct in handling clinical trial data.

Sequenom (NASDAQ: SQNM) disclosed that it met with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego in connection with the company’s mishandling of data from a clinical trial for its Down syndrome prenatal test. This latest development came a week after a five-month internal investigation led the company to fire CEO (and San Diego Xconomist) Harry Stylli along with three others. The company said it is cooperating fully with government investigators and the dismissed employees had denied wrongdoing.

Accumetrics reeled in another $16.5 million from existing investors, including Essex Woodlands Health Ventures and Kaiser Permanente Ventures. As Bruce reported, the company sees a multibillion-dollar market for its diagnostic device that calibrates the right dosage of anti-clotting drugs.

Transdel Pharmaceuticals (OTC BB: TDLP) saw mixed results from a clinical trial of its topical pain reliever. The cream containing ketoprofen was better than a placebo among patients who used the cream as directed, but had no advantage among patients who applied the cream incorrectly, or failed to follow the study protocol. CEO Juliet Singh told Luke the trial was a success and that the FDA would consider the two sets of data.

Marval Biosciences, San Diego’s latest virtual biomedical startup, raised $2.5 million in venture financing from DFJ Frontier in Los Angeles and DFJ Mercury in Houston, affiliates of the Silicon Valley firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The company is working on next-generation contrast agents for medical imaging.

LifeModeler of San Clemente, CA had a cameo in one of the biggest science stories of the week. The company’s biomechanical visualization software was used to determine how Ardi, a 4.4-million-year-old hominid fossil, walked and moved. Orthopedic surgeons use the software to plan and practice joint-replacement surgeries,

Gen-Probe (NASDAQ: GPRO), which uses nucleic acid testing of blood samples to diagnose human diseases, agreed to pay $60 million in cash to acquire Wisconsin-based Prodesse, which is developing sophisticated reagents that can rapidly identify certain types of respiratory viruses, intestinal bacteria, and other infectious microbes.