Vertex Sales Much Bigger Than Expected, Amylin Re-Submits Exenatide, Mini VC Fund Debuts, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

8/4/11Follow @bvbigelow

If there’s a common thread in San Diego’s biotech news over the past week, it would be perseverance. If you can persist with our briefing, you’ll see what I mean.

—Cambridge, MA-based Vertex, (NASDAQ: VRTX), which has a sizable presence in San Diego, said it generated $74.5 million in second-quarter sales of telaprevir (Incivek), its new drug for treating hepatitis C. Wall Street analysts had expected the number would be less than half that.

—San Diego’s Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN), Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY), and Waltham, MA-based Alkermes (NASDAQ: ALKS) re-submitted an application to the FDA to market exenatide, its new, once-a-week version of Bydureon.

—San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals, (NASDAQ: ARNA), which sustained a major setback last October when the FDA refused to clear its obesity drug, reported results from a recent study that could address part of the FDA’s objections. Arena said its weight-loss drug lorcaserin (Lorqess) was found in cerebrospinal fluid at much lower concentrations in human beings than in rats. The company plans to address each of the concerns raised by the FDA about its drug.

—San Diego-based BrainCells Inc., which has raised at least $77 million in venture capital since it was founded in 2003, has raised nearly $1 million in a planned financing of $14 million. But BrainCells is moving forward without CEO James Schoeneck, who joined the company more than five years ago, and Carrolee Barlow, who was the chief scientific officer. Consultant Robert Williamson has been serving as the company’s acting CEO.

—There’s a new venture firm in town, called Moore Venture Partners. Terry Moore told me he can make a difference in helping San Diego’s underserved startup community with even a small fund of $10 million to $15 million. Moore plans to invest in both tech and life sciences startups, and participated in last year’s $26.5 million Series B financing at San Diego-based Astute Medical.

—San Diego-based Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) said it is working with the University of Oxford to sequence the whole genomes of 500 people with a range of life-threatening genetic diseases or disorders that pose major challenges in diagnosis, treatment, and care. The team plans to recruit patients from Oxford’s clinical community in an effort to identify genetic mutations that could be used to diagnose their diseases and optimize treatment.

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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