San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Lithera, CardioCell, and More

2/21/14Follow @bvbigelow

ResMed founder Peter Farrell was characteristically outspoken, funny, and acerbic as he talked about the origins of Carlsbad-based ResMed at a luncheon in his honor. I have the details, along with the rest of San Diego’s life sciences news over the past week.

Lithera, a San Diego biotech developing an injectable drug for reducing belly fat, said it closed a Series C round of financing after raising $35.6 million, far more than the company’s initial goal of $20 million to $25 million. Lithera plans to use the proceeds to advance its lead product candidate, an injectable version of salmeterol xinafoate. The FDA already has approved salmeterol as an aerosol inhalant for treating asthma.

—Bob Klein, the Portola Valley lawyer and real estate developer who led the 2004 initiative that approved California’s $3 billion bond issue for stem cell research, said he wants to raise another $5 billion to extend the program. Klein outlined his proposal in San Diego yesterday in a presentation at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, according to a report by Brad Fikes in U-T San Diego. Klein told a symposium of cancer researchers he would work to get an initiative on the ballot to extend funding for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state stem cell agency. Funding under the program voters approved in 2004 is expected to run out in 2017.

—Connect, the San Diego nonprofit program that supports technology innovation and entrepreneurship, inducted ResMed (NYSE: RMD) founder Peter Farrell into its Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame. Connect honored Farrell for “his lifelong dedication to research innovation in the fields of sleep and respiratory,” and his impact on the San Diego community. The Carlsbad-based company Farrell started in 1989 for about $1 million specializes in medical technology for treating sleep-disordered breathing—and today has a market valuation of more than $6.5 billion. My favorite quote about Farrell came from Pyxis founder Ron Taylor, who said, “Peter doesn’t use brakes. He accelerates through everything. We call him the wild man.”

— In his BioBeat column, my colleague Luke Timmerman said the molecular diagnostics industry needs a tough, science-minded, credible regulator … who can comb through complex data sets and say with confidence what’s real, what’s clinically meaningful,” and what isn’t. Luke argues that … 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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