San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Intellikine, Somaxon, and More

12/22/11Follow @bvbigelow

—Merry Christmas, Troy Wilson! Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical agreed to pay $190 million upfront, plus another $120 million in future milestone payments, to acquire Intellikine, the San Diego biotech that CEO Wilson co-founded in 2007. Takeda wants to combine Intellikine’s portfolio of small molecule drugs in the PI3 kinase pathway, a hot target in cancer biology, with its Cambridge, MA-based Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company.

—San Diego’s Zogenix (NASDAQ: ZGNX) said it completed a series of meetings with FDA regulators about its new drug candidate, an extended-release and acetaminophen-free formulation of the painkiller hydrocodone (Zohydro). Zogenix said it hopes to submit a new drug application for its opioid early in the second quarter of 2012.

—San Diego specialty drugmaker Somaxon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SOMX) said it hired an investment banking firm to evaluate the possible sale of the company and other strategies “to maximize shareholder value.” After launching doxepin (Silenor) last year as a treatment for difficult insomnia cases, Somaxon has encountered unexpected competition from generic drugmakers. The alternatives under consideration include selling Somaxon or its doxepin-related assets, forming a partnership, or pursuing other collaborations related to the prescription or over-the-counter rights to the drug.

—San Diego’s Trius Therapeutics (NASDAQ: TSRX) said its lead antibiotic drug candidate, tedizolid phosphate, met the main goal of its pivotal clinical trial. A study of 667 patients showed that the Trius antibiotic was roughly equal to Pfizer’s linezolid (Zyvox) when treating acute skin and skin structure infections.

— In his Intellectual Capital column, Steve Chapple profiled Steve Jurvetson, managing partner of the Menlo Park, CA, venture firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The 44-year-old Jurvetson led the firm’s investments in San Diego’s Synthetic Genomics and its agricultural spinoff, Agradis, as well as Genomatica, which has been developing ways to use bacteria and sugar to make chemicals. Jurvetson told Chapple, “San Diego’s ground zero for the renaissance that I call Biotech 2.0.”

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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