Syndax’s Breast Cancer Drug Advances, Arena Raises Equity Financing, BeneChill Recruits a CEO, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

6/10/10

The pace of life sciences news slowed in the past week, but we know from experience the lull is temporary. You can catch up on the headlines here.

—A raft of studies from provided additional evidence that a urine test from Gen-Probe (NASDAQ: GPRO) might help eliminate the need for additional biopsies in men with positive PSA tests. The results of clinical tests of PCA3 prostate cancer test were presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association.

Syndax Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company co-founded by scientists from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, said a small clinical study suggested its experimental drug entinostat might be effective in combination with hormone therapies against breast cancer. The Waltham, MA-based company plans a mid-stage trial.

—Alan Raffensperger was named CEO of BeneChill, which is working on a device to reduce the risk of brain damage after cardiac arrest. Raffensperger formerly headed Amgen’s nephrology franchise.

Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARNA) raised $35.5 million through an equity financing from Deerfield Management. An FDA advisory panel will consider Arena’s obesity drug lorcaserin on Sept. 16.

—It turns out the undisclosed investment in San Diego’s Synthetic Genomics by Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE) of Carlsbad, CA, was $10 million. That was based on a regulatory filing made after Life made its announcement.

—San Diego-based Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) has lowered the cost of sequencing a person’s entire genome from $48,00 to $19,500. The genetic diagnostics company also is offering a discounted price of $9,500 to sequence the genomes of individuals with serious medical conditions—which could potentially enable doctors to tailor their treatment.

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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