SD Life Sciences Roundup: Optimer, Illumina, & Deals, Deals, Deals
In an encouraging sign for San Diego’s life sciences sector, a number of new financing deals recently went to local companies. Here’s our roundup of all the news.
—Shareholder suits have begun to pile up after San Diego’s Optimer Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OPTR) shook up its leadership, citing concerns over a stock grant issued by a Taiwanese affiliate. The board removed founder Michael Chang as chairman (and asked him to resign from the board), and named former Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) CEO Hank McKinnell as chairman. Optimer’s board also dismissed the CFO and a vice president over corporate governance concerns.
—With the annual meeting for San Diego-based Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) less than a week away, three proxy advisory firms—Glass Lewis, International Shareholder Services (ISS), and Egan Jones—have sided with the company in its proxy fight with the Swiss giant Roche. Roche is battling to control the Illumina board, which has rejected its $6.7 billion hostile takeover bid. Roche urged Illumina shareholders in a letter yesterday to vote their proxy cards for Roche’s slate of independent director nominees.
—There’s a new molecular diagnostics company in town. San Diego-based NexDx says it finalized an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with the UC San Diego School of Medicine to commercialize discoveries made in the lab of rheumatology specialist Gary Firestein. NexDx raised about $250,000 six months ago to develop new diagnostics technology for rheumatoid arthritis. UCSD’s Firestein and Jonathan Lim of San Diego’s City Hill Ventures founded NexDx last year.