San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Nucelis, Evoke, PharmAkea & More

5/30/13Follow @bvbigelow

It was a week of diverse news from San Diego’s life sciences community, even with the Memorial Day holiday. From digital health to drug development, and a new center for stem cell imaging, here’s our wrap-up.

—The Eighth Annual Wireless-Life Sciences Convergence Summit kicked off in downtown San Diego with a featured talk by Joseph Kvedar, director of the Partners Healthcare Center for Connected Health in Boston. Chronic illness accounts for more than half of total healthcare costs in the United States, Kvedar said. Much of that burden could be prevented if people would change their behavior—by exercising, eating healthier foods, and adhering to doctors’ orders. The Center for Connected Health has been working on mobile apps and other technologies to help people change their unhealthy patterns of behavior. We got a preview of the industry from Rob McCray of the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance, which organizes the conference.

Nucelis, an industrial biotech using technology licensed from Cibus, commissioned a pilot-scale fermentation at the company’s new San Diego Headquarters. The plant houses two fermentation vessels, and has room to expand. The three-year-old company plans to test and optimize production processes for customers, using its Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS) to make non-transgenic changes in the DNA of bacteria, yeast, and other organisms. Nucelis said its first project is squalane, a clear oil compound used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and specialty lubricants. Nucelis named Sean O’Connor, a former Chemtura executive, as CEO in March.

Evoke Pharma, a San Diego specialty biopharmaceutical developing a new drug for a gastrointestinal disorder, filed for a $23.9 million IPO. Evoke was founded to develop a new formulation of metoclopramide, the only FDA-approved drug for treating diabetic gastroparesis, a stomach disorder with symptoms that include vomiting, bloating, and pain. Evoke hopes to … Next Page »

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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