Avalon Raising New Fund, Althea Technologies Gets Altus Assets, Trancon Pharmaceuticals Nabs Financing, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

5/6/10

We saw a spate of deal-making in the past week. Those developments and more are summarized for you here.

Avalon Ventures, one of the few San Diego venture capital firms that continues to invest in early-stage life sciences companies, embarked on fund-raising for its ninth venture fund with the intention of raising $150 million from its investment partners. The fund will split its investments between life sciences and Web and wireless companies.

—Erin identified four San Diego life sciences companies that raised less than $1 million in March. Leading her under-the-radar deals list is Tracon Pharmaceuticals, which is developing treatments for cancer and age-related macular degeneration.

Sequenom (NASDAQ: SQMN) said a federal judge in San Diego approved its $14 million class-action settlement with shareholders who sued the company after it retreated from plans to introduce a diagnostic test for Down syndrome due to “employee mishandling” of R&D test data and results

Cadence Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CADX) re-submitted its new drug application for an IV form of acetaminophen (Ofirmev) to the FDA. In February, the agency told Cadence it could not approve the drug because it found deficiencies during its inspection of third-party manufacturer, Baxter International.

Schrödinger, a New York and Portland, OR-based maker of chemical-simulation software for drug development and research, received a $10 million equity investment from Bill Gates through Cascade Investment. The company has an office in San Diego.

Althea Technologies, a contract development and manufacturing company focused on biologics, acquired the assets and IP portfolio of Waltham, MA-based Altus Pharmaceuticals for an undisclosed price. Althea said applications of Altus’ technology range from therapeutics to protein purification and catalysis.

—Luke profiled Proteostasis Therapeutics, a Cambridge, MA-based biotech working on drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Jeffery Kelly of the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego is one of the scientific founders of the company.

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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