Isis Extends Timeline on Cholesterol-Lowering Drug, FDA Delays Review of Cadence Pain Reliever, Fate Therapeutics Raises $30 Million, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

11/19/09

Drug development programs got extended at two San Diego life sciences companies, while others had some good news on the fund-raising front. We wrap it all up for you here.

Fate Therapeutics, a startup working to supply “industrialized” stem cells for the pharmaceutical industry without using embryos, said it raised $30 million in venture capital. That brings the total amount raised by the San Diego-based company to about $50 million since its inception two years ago.

Cadence Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CADX) said the FDA has delayed its review of the San Diego company’s intravenous pain reliever by three months, to Feb. 12. Cadence provided additional data to the FDA after an advisory panel raised concerns about liver damage from excessive doses of acetaminophen. But Cadence said it remains confident it will win FDA approval of its drug, which contains acetaminophen.

—Carlsbad, CA-based Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS) and its Big Pharma partner, Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ), have extended the timeline for their much-anticipated cholesterol-lowering drug by nearly a year. The companies reported encouraging results from a clinical trial, but noted that four out of 34 patients saw their liver enzymes increase to three times normal, a sign of potential liver damage. The companies plan to tinker with the dose of the injectible drug in future trials.

—San Diego-based NextImage Medical, a developer of a Web-based system for scheduling and managing diagnostic imaging services, reporting raising $5 million in a venture round led by Chrysalis Ventures of Louisville, KY.

—San Diego-based Altair Therapeutics, a company developing inhalable drugs to block inflammatory proteins involved in asthma and other respiratory diseases, has closed on the second part of a Series A venture financing, bringing the total amount raises this year to $17 million.

—San Diego-based Cyntellect, which makes work stations used by biotechs for cell analysis, purification, and processing, raised $15.5 million so far in a secondary round that aims to raise a total of $18.6 million, according to a recent regulatory filing.

GenVault, a Carlsbad, CA-based company that markets dry-storage technologies that allow scientists to store biological samples at room temperature, said it expects to break even by the end of next year. The startup has raised about $32 million so far.


Denise Gellene is a former Los Angeles Times science writer and regular contributor to Xconomy. You can reach her at dgellene@xconomy.com Follow @

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