Conatus Gets Idun, Trius Goes Public, BrainCells Gets Sabcomeline, & More San Diego-Area Life Sciences News

8/5/10Follow @bvbigelow

Either I have too much time on my hands, or the first half of today’s headline is pretty close to a Haiku in English. Don’t grade me. Let’s just move on with the roundup of life sciences news.

—We briefly noted that San Diego’s Conatus Pharmaceuticals acquired Idun Pharmaceuticals for an undisclosed sum from Pfizer, which has been operating the San Diego-based subsidiary since 2005. But PE Hub’s Dan Primack cogently unraveled how Conatus, which was formed by executives who left Idun, likely paid less than 10 percent of what Pfizer paid to acquire Idun just five years ago.

—Plans by Complete Genomics to raise as much as $86 million through an IPO could lead to a payout for San Diego’s Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, which is among several VCs that invested in the Mountain View, CA, company. Complete Genomics has been developing its own methodology for inexpensive gene sequencing.

—Carlsbad, CA-based Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS) and Cambridge, MA-based Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ) said their drug for people with severely high cholesterol passed a pair of key clinical trials. The companies are preparing to seek clearance from regulators next year to begin selling the drug in the U.S. and Europe.

—Ryan talked with two former Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX) executives, Roger Tung and Rich Aldrich, to unravel how Eli Lilly walked away from nearly its entire stake in the drug telaprevir, the hepatitis C treatment that is nearing approval as a treatment for the chronic liver disease. Today, telaprevir represents a potential multibillion-dollar molecule for Cambridge, MA-based Vertex, which has significant operations in San Diego.

—OK, the Trius Therapeutics IPO was ugly—but the important thing is it got done. The San Diego biotech, which is developing technology to create a class of new antibiotic compounds, raised about $49 million instead of $78 million it had hoped to rake in through its IPO. After postponing its IPO for months earlier this year, Trius (NASDAQ: TSRX) cut its share price and increased the number of shares shortly before the offering.

—San Diego’s Optimer Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OPTR) filed an application to start marketing fidaxomicin in the European Union as a treatment for C.difficile bacterial infections. Optimer plans to seek FDA approval later this year.

—San Diego’s BrainCells Inc. agreed to pay as much as $51 million to acquire a drug, sabcomeline, from London-based Proximagen that could have potential against various psychiatric diseases.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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