Biotech is Biggest Winner in Second-Quarter VC Funding, Zogenix Strategy Unfolds, Intellikine Builds Clinical Trial Capabilities, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

7/21/11Follow @bvbigelow

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the winners in these deals are often celebrating a pyrrhic victory.

—San Diego-based Celladon, which reported encouraging results last year in using gene therapy for heart failure, has secured $400,000 in a debt and securities financing. But that hardly seems sufficient to move its drug development forward. Celladon has raised more than $60 million in venture capital from Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, Venrock Associates, and Johnson & Johnson.

—Synteract, a full-service, global contract research organization (CRO) based in San Diego, named Wendel Barr as CEO. Barr  succeeds Synteract Co-Founder Ellen Morgan, who remains as board chairman. Barr previously was the chief operating officer at Covance, the largest public CRO with $2 billion of revenue. Barr led six global divisions with more than 10,500 employees at Covance, and oversaw all aspects of their operations.

After securing FDA clearance in May, San Diego’s Optimer Pharmaceuticals said it has begun selling its first commercial product, a prescription antibiotic for treating a form of diarrhea caused by Clostridium difficile bacteria. Optimer says its compound, fidaxomicin (DIFICID), was more effective in treating the potentially deadly intestinal infection than existing antibiotics.

—San Diego-based Comprendia, which provides social media tools for life sciences companies, says it is introducing an online social networking website to support research in epigenetics, a quickly growing field with important implications for oncology, neurology, metabolism, and disease mechanisms. The online resource is being sponsored by New England Biolabs of Ipswich, MA.

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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