San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Zogenix, Illumina, Sophiris, & More
It’s not all about the IPOs. Two San Diego biotechs took advantage of the continuing favorable market conditions to raise capital through secondary public offerings over the past week. I’ve got details, along with the rest of the local life sciences news.
—Despite an independent panel’s recommendation against approval, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its OK to San Diego-based Zogenix (Nasdaq: ZGNX) for the use of an extended-release formulation of the pure opioid hydrocodone bitartrate (Zohydro). The FDA said the painkiller should be prescribed only for severe pain that requires “daily, around-the-clock, long-term treatment,” and only when other treatment alternatives are inadequate. The FDA said it is concerned about the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse of opioids.
—San Diego-based Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) said it has agreed to acquire NextBio, a Cupertino, CA-based company that specializes in clinical and genomic informatics. No financial terms were disclosed. Illumina said acquiring NextBio’s technology would enable the gene sequencing leader to offer “enterprise-level bioinformatics solutions that accelerate the discovery of new associations between the human genome and disease, and, ultimately, enable the application of those discoveries within health care.”
—San Diego’s Sophiris Bio said it has dosed the first patients in a late-stage trial of PRX302, an experimental drug for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, or enlarged prostate. Sophiris said the trial is designed to enroll 440 patients and is an international, multi-center study. As I’ve previously reported, the drug is deposited by an ultrasound-guided injection in the area where the prostate meets the urethra.
—MEI Pharma (NASDAQ: MEIP), a San Diego biopharmaceutical focused on the clinical development of new therapies for cancer, raised about $35 million in gross proceeds from a secondary public offering of nearly 4.4 million shares of its common stock, priced at $8 a share. MEI Pharma said it plans to use net proceeds of the offering to advance work on several anti-cancer drug candidates.
—Another San Diego biotherapeutic company, Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRNE), said it raised almost $35 million in gross proceeds from a secondary public offering of 4.8 million shares, priced at $7.25 a share. The company has been developing biotherapeutics for inflammation, cancer, and other diseases. Sorrento Therapeutics moved to the Nasdaq from the over-the-counter market several weeks ago.
—Frazier Healthcare, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm that invests in healthcare companies, named former Calistoga Pharmaceuticals CEO Carol Gallagher as a venture partner. Gallagher lives in San Diego, but plans to work at Frazier’s Bay Area headquarters several days a week. She serves on several biotech boards, including AnaptysBio and Atterocor, which are both Frazier portfolio companies.