San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Isis, Receptos, Suneva, and More

1/17/14Follow @bvbigelow

Much of San Diego’s life sciences sector is returning from the 2014 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, which ended yesterday in San Francisco. Here’s my rundown on local news over the past week.

—The French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi agreed to pay $700 million for a 12 percent stake in Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY) in a deal that creates a new alliance with Genzyme, the Cambridge, MA, biotech that Sanofi acquired in 2011 for $20.1 billion. Carlsbad, CA-based Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS) said the recently announced Genzyme-Alnylam alliance triggered a $7.5 million payment from Alnylam, along with additional potential future payments.

—San Diego-based Receptos (NASDAQ: RCPT) said it raised $117.4 million in gross proceeds from its recently completed secondary stock offering. All of the shares in the offering, which totaled more than 3.8 million shares were sold by Receptos. The company plans to use the net proceeds to advance development of RPC1063, its lead experimental drug candidate, in ongoing clinical trials for relapsing multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis, other R&D programs, and general corporate purposes.

Suneva Medical, a San Diego startup that specializes in skin care products targeting general dermatology and aesthetic markets, said it has raised $35 million in a combination of debt and equity financing. Polaris Partners led the investment portion of the deal, which amounted to $20 million in a Series B round. HealthCare Royalty Partners participated in the round and provided an unspecified growth-capital term loan. Comerica Bank provided working capital financing.

—North Carolina’s Salix Pharmaceuticals is laying off about 200 employees of San Diego-based Santarus, and closing the local operations that came with its $2.6 billion buyout of Santarus late last year. The layoffs are set for March 6, according to a report in UT San Diego. Santarus was focused on specialty drugs for treating ulcerative colitis, diabetes, and excess stomach acid, among other things. Salix outlined its post-acquistion reorganization here.

—San Diego’s Millennium Laboratories said it has acquired RxAnte, a McClean, VA, startup that uses predictive analytics to help make sure that patients maintain their prescription regimen. Financial terms were not disclosed, according to a statement. RxAnte was founded in 2011, and had raised about $4.5 million in Series A funding from San Francisco-based Aberdare and the San Diego-based West Health Investment Fund. Millennium, with about 1,300 employees at its Poway, CA, headquarters, uses urine and pharmacogenetic testing to help healthcare providers treat pain, substance-abuse disorders, and other chronic diseases.

—California Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed Biocom CEO Joe Panetta to a seat on the governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Panetta, who takes over the seat left vacant by the death of Duane Roth last year, will continue to head Biocom, the nonprofit industry group based in San Diego.

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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