Inception 1 Raises $5M, VCs Pessimistic About U.S. Biotech Funding, EU Approves Amylin’s Once-a-Week Diabetes Drug, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

6/23/11Follow @bvbigelow

It was not a week for a lot of life sciences news, but what we’ve got is pretty interesting. Judge for yourselves; our roundup begins now.

A global survey of venture capitalists released this week reveals substantial pessimism among VCs about venture investment levels in U.S. life sciences startups over the next five years. The annual survey by The National Venture Capital Association and Deloitte shows that 81 percent of the VCs polled expect biopharmaceutical investments in the U.S. to stay the same (51 percent) or decrease (30 percent) through 2016. In the medical device and equipment sector, 76 percent anticipate funding will stay the same (52 percent) or drop (24 percent). Their attitude toward China is just the opposite; with 100 percent of the VCs polled saying biopharmaceutical investments in China will rise (83 percent) or stay the same (17 percent). Nobody thought biopharma funding will decline in China. On medical devices and equipment, 93 percent anticipate investment levels will increase (77 percent) or stay the same (16 percent.)

European Union drug regulators approved the once-weekly injectable version of exenatide (Bydureon) for treating type-2 diabetes, providing a shot in the arm to San Diego’s Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN) and its partners-Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) and Waltham, MA-based Alkermes (NASDAQ: ALKS). The FDA declined to approve Bydureon for the U.S. market eight months ago, asking the companies to run a thorough study that evaluated effects of bigger doses on patients’ heart rates.

—Peppi Prasit, who left Amira Pharmaceuticals in November, appears to have started another San Diego biotech, Inception 1, which has raised $5 million in venture funding, according to a recent regulatory filing. Prasit, who was Amira’s co-founder and chief scientific officer, is identified in the filing as an executive and director. There isn’t much additional information disclosed. Versant Ventures partner Bradley Bolzon is listed as a director and San Diego’s Thomas Coll is listed as an executive.

—San Diego’s industrial biotech, Genomatica, received the EPA’s annual Green Chemistry Challenge Award. Genomatica has genetically engineered a type of bacteria to consume sugar in fermentation tanks and produce 1,4-Butanediol (BDO), an intermediate “building block” chemical needed to make spandex and various plastics.

—Carlsbad, CA-based GenMark Diagnostics (NASDAQ: GNMK) said it arranged a secondary offering of its stock to the public at a price of $4.25 a share that was intended to raise at lease $30 million. The company makes automated DNA and RNA diagnostics testing systems.

—San Diego’s Anaphore named former Fate Therapeutics CEO and Sanderling Ventures managing director Paul Grayson as its new CEO. He replaces founding CEO Kathy Bowdish, who will stay on as an Anaphore consultant.

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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