Zogenix Goes Public, Amira Restructures, Apricus Gets Boost From FDA Agreement on Cancer Drug Trial, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

11/24/10Follow @bvbigelow

Most of the news from San Diego’s life sciences companies in the week before Thanksgiving was focused on funding deals. And you have our best wishes over the holiday.

—After setting the price for its IPO between $12 and $14 a share earlier this month, San Diego specialty drug developer Zogenix (NASDAQ: ZGNX) priced its initial public offering at $4 a share, a markdown of at least 67 percent. Zogenix also increased its offering from 6 million to 14 million shares, raising a total of about $56 million for the company, which had been shooting for something closer to $84 million. The company is developing drugs for use with its needleless injector.

Access Scientific, a San Diego startup developing a device for inserting a peripherally inserted central catheter line, has raised an additional $2 million from investors.

—San Diego’s Amira Pharmaceuticals laid off half its staff, leaving 25 employees to concentrate on discovery research and administration as the company reorganizes into more of an early-to-mid-stage drug developer. Founders Peppi Prasit, Jilly Evans, and John Hutchinson are all leaving their jobs, although Prasit will continue as chairman of Amira’s scientific advisory board.

—Shares of San Diego’s Apricus Biosciences (NASDAQ: APRI) gained about 24 percent after the drug development company said it had reached an agreement with the FDA on a plan for conducting a pivotal clinical trial for a potential new treatment for liver cancer. Apricus closed Monday at $3.35 a share after ending Friday at $2.70.

Vertex (NASDAQ: VRTX), the Cambridge, MA, drug developer with operations in San Diego, filed a new drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin selling telaprevir as a treatment for hepatitis C. The company is seeking a faster-than-usual six-month regulatory process.

—Cambridge, MA-based Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ), which has operations in San Diego, disclosed plans to sell its diagnostic products business to Japan’s Sekisui Chemical for $265 million in cash.

—San Diego’s ImThera Medical, which is developing a neuro-stimulation device for treating sleep apnea, has raised $1 million of a planned $2.2 million round from investors.

—San Diego’s BeneChill, which has been developing a portable device that emergency workers can use to lower the temperature of heart attack victims, raised about $600,000 of a planned $1.2 million in debt.

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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