San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Illumina, Santarus, Accelrys, & More
This week’s assortment of San Diego life sciences news includes a sweet CEO interview, a dollop of FDA approval, a savory corporate acquisition, and other morsels for your enjoyment. Best of all, our news is zero calorie—and it begins now.
—One interesting tidbit of life sciences news occurred earlier this month, when Roche Chairman told the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung the pharmaceutical giant had dropped it’s bid to acquire San Diego’s Illumina (Nasdaq: ticker[[ILMN]]). But Illumina CEO Jay Flatley gave up even more interesting fodder in a wide-ranging interview with Xconomy’s Luke Timmerman. Among other things, Flatley says Illumina’s didn’t move to acquire Verinata Health to compete directly with Sequenom, one of Illumina’s biggest customers, in prenatal genetic testing. Oh really?
—San Diego-based Santarus (Nasdaq: SNTS) said the FDA approved its extended release drug for treating patients with ulcerative colitis. Santarus combined the steroid drug budesonide with its drug delivery technology, which deposits budesonide along the length of the colon. The company plans to begin marketing the drug as Uceris in March.
—San Diego scientific software developer Accelrys (Nasdaq: ACCL) said it had acquired Vialis, a longtime strategic partner based in Liestal, Switzerland, that serves the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemicals, and agro-science industries. Accelrys said it had paid $5 million to acquire all outstanding shares of Vialis’ stock, with as much as $5 million more to be paid if certain growth objectives are met over the next three years. Vialis integrates core software systems, including electronic laboratory notebooks, laboratory execution systems, and laboratory information management systems.
— San Diego’s Larry Smarr and Peter Attia are among the first 10 speakers announced for the 2013 TEDMED symposium in Washington, D.C. Smarr, founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, plans to talk about his microbiome and quantified health. Attia, founder and president of the Nutrition Science Initiative, is slated to talk about the nation’s obesity crisis. The exclusive show that mixes medical and healthcare presentations with humor, music, and other entertainments, is scheduled for April 16-19 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
—Predictive analytics venture investor Correlation Ventures, based in San Diego and Menlo Park, CA, said it made investments in 26 companies in 2012, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Co-founder and managing partner David Coats explained the firm’s investment strategy for me last June. The latest deals bring Correlation’s portfolio of companies to 39. So far, 43 percent of the firm’s investments are in enterprise IT and technology-enabled business services, 34 percent in life sciences, 19 percent in consumer, and 4 percent in energy or cleantech deals.
—San Diego antibody drugmaker Ambrx said it had recruited Lawson Macartney, a senior executive from Shire Pharmaceuticals, as president and CEO. Macartney, a Ph.D. and doctor of veterinary medicine, has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Before joining Shire, Macartney was a senior vice president of global product strategy and project management at GlaxoSmithKline.