Otonomy Gets $38.5M, Avalon Helps Restart Drug for Age-Related Blindness, Accumetrics Heads Toward Profitability, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

9/2/10Follow @bvbigelow

The life sciences news over the past week was almost all about deals. Money came out of INC Research, a contract research organization in North Carolina that was founded in San Diego. Money went into Otonomy, Accumetrics, and some other San Diego startups. We round it all up for you here.

—San Diego-based Otonomy, a two-year-old startup developing new drug candidates for treating hearing and balance disorders of the ear, closed a $38.5 million Series B round of venture funding. Otonomy was started by San Diego’s Avalon Ventures, which converted $9 million in loans into equity as part of a $10 million Series A round investment just three months ago.

—The recent $575 million buyout of INC Research, a contract research organization based in Research Triangle Park, NC, was a happy outcome for investor (and Xconomist) Drew Senyei of San Diego’s Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, and neurologist Kenneth Selzer. It took a long time for the payday to arrive—INC Research was founded in San Diego 14 years ago.

—San Diego-based Avalon Ventures rounded up five other VC firms to acquire a compound called fenretinide, which was under development in Florida, for treating age-related macular degeneration. The six venture firms founded ReVision Therapeutics in San Diego just five months ago to resume development of fenretinide after Sirion Therapeutics of Tampa, FL, ran into some economic doldrums last year.

—A biomedical diagnostics company, San Diego-based Accumetrics, has raised $7 million as part of a Series E venture round that began with $16.5 million last October. Accumetrics, which makes an automated diagnostic instrument that measures the effectiveness of anti-clotting drugs, says now it should reach profitability.

Cebix, a San Diego startup developing a supplemental treatment for complications that arise from type 1 diabetes, has raised $16 million over the past 14 months.

—San Diego-based Cypress Bioscience (NASDAQ: CYPB) said it acquired rights to two novel therapies in separate deals. Cypress acquired a potential treatment of the core symptoms of autism from Marina Biotech (NASDAQ: MRNA) of Bothell, WA. And Cypress licensed an electronic nicotine delivery technology from Alexza Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ: ALXA) of Mountain View, CA, that helps smokers quit smoking by enabling them to gradually step down how much nicotine they inhale.

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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