SD Biotech Roundup: Elevation Pharmaceuticals, BioSurplus, and More

5/17/12Follow @bvbigelow

We’re anticipating a lot of news out of a big cancer conference that begins next week in Chicago. Here is your head start.

—Cancer researchers have talked for decades about finding the silver bullet that could kill cancer cells without harming the healthy cells nearby. These days, the industry is focusing on the development of “empowered” or “armed” antibodies, or antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Luke put together a list of venture-backed life sciences companies that are focusing on ADCs. His list includes San Diego’s AnaptysBio, Fabrus, and Ambrx.

—San Diego’s Elevation Pharmaceuticals said a mid-stage dosing trial of its lead drug candidate, an aerosol dubbed EP-101, generated positive results among patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The company said it tested four doses of EP-101, with all four doses showing EP-101 was safe and effective in helping COPD patients breathe easier. Elevation raised $30 million in a Series B round five months ago that should enable the company to complete a follow-up round of testing this year.

—With the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting set to begin next week in Chicago, Luke used his BioBeat column to provide a rundown on eight cancer drugs to watch from biotech companies throughout the U.S. He picked them because they are either on the cusp of reaching the market, or just beginning to show their potential.

BioSurplus, a San Diego company that provides pre-owned lab instruments to the life sciences industry, said it raised $1.5M to fund its expansion into Boston. The company recently opened similar equipment showrooms in the San Francisco Bay Area and Korea. BioSurplus said most of the funding for the move came from San Diego-based KI Investment Holdings.

—Good News for Xconomy: Our national biotech editor, Luke Timmerman, is one of four finalists in the blogging category of this year’s Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. Whatever happens, he’s put Xconomy in good company. The other blogging finalists work for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Reuters. Winners will be announced June 26.

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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