Amid the hectic pace of earnings releases, we saw a number of partnership agreements and other developments coming out of San Diego’s life sciences community. Here’s my wrap-up.
—Shares of San Diego-based Receptos (NASDAQ: RCPT), a biotech developing new treatments for immune disorders, began trading on the Nasdaq exchange this morning after the company said it had priced a bigger-than-expected IPO at $14 a share. The company raised $73 million by offering 5.2 million shares, an increase from its planned offering of 4.7 million shares. Receptos granted its underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 780,000 shares to cover any over-allotments.
—Another San Diego biotech, cancer drug developer Ambit Biosciences, is waiting in the wings for its IPO debut. Ambit, which would trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AMBI, plans to raise $65 million by offering 4.6 million shares at a price range between $13 to $15.
—San Diego’s Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARNA) and its partner Eisai Pharmaceuticals of Japan said they can begin sales of lorcaserin (Belviq) as a treatment for obesity (in addition to diet and exercise) next month, after winning final approval from the DEA. In giving its approval to lorcaserin last year, the FDA recommended a DEA review last year to help prevent abuse of the weight-loss drug. Arena failed to win FDA approval for lorcaserin in 2010. The DEA rated lorcaserin as a Schedule 4 controlled substance, which carries a relatively low risk of abuse. Eisai also will pay Arena a $65 million milestone payment due under their partnership agreement.
—The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) said it signed a five-year agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals to collaborate on infectious disease research and discovery, with an initial goal targeting the influenza virus. The deal gives Janssen certain license rights to the results of their joint research. Scott Forrest, TSRI’s vice president for business development, said the deal reflects a corporate partnering strategy that seeks to match specific areas of Big Pharma interest with expertise at TSRI labs in San Diego and Florida.
—Ambrx, a San Diego drug developer that specializes in “smart bomb” antibody drugs, said it entered into a collaboration agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) to develop new antibody drug conjugates based on Ambrx’s protein medicinal chemistry technology. Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to pay Ambrx $15 million upfront, provide R&D funding, and make potential milestone payments of up to $97 million. Additional terms were not disclosed.
—San Diego-based NuVasive (NASDAQ: NUVA), which has developed minimally disruptive surgical products and procedures for the spine, said it paid $4.5 million to buy ANC, a spine implant manufacturer based in Dayton, OH. Financial terms were not disclosed. NuVasive Chairman and CEO Alex Lukianov said bringing portions of the company’s manufacturing in-house is a key element of NuVasive’s commitment to improve profitability and grow annual revenue to $1 billion and beyond.
—Qualcomm Life, the wireless health subsidiary of San Diego’s Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), said it acquired San Diego-based HealthyCircles, a software-as-a-service startup that enables care providers to share patient information. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The purchase enables Qualcomm Life to combine its 2net wireless technology with a software platform that enables health care professionals, patients, families, and caregivers to share information and manage patient care. HealthyCircles’ founder, James Mault, is a former Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) HealthVault executive, and joins Qualcomm Life as chief medical officer. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
—GenomeDx Biosciences, a medical diagnostics company based in Vancouver, BC, and San Diego, said studies presented at the 2013 American Urological Association conference this week meeting add fresh support for its test of metastasis risk in men with prostate cancer. GenomeDx said an independent study of its “Decipher” technology on 1,010 Mayo Clinic patients show its genomic test is a better predictor of metastasis in post-surgical prostate cancer patients than existing assessment tools.
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