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West Coast Biotech Roundup: IPOs, Gilead, Sofinnova, & Denouements

What a week to round up. Against a backdrop of regulatory approvals, strategic deals, and R&D initiatives, a fresh salvo of life sciences IPOs signaled a resurgence in public offerings already running ahead of last year’s pace. We also saw moves to resolve weeks of drama at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego and at the headquarters of California’s stem cell agency in San Francisco. So, without further ado…

—In a statement Monday, chairman Richard Gephardt of The Scripps Research Institute’s board of trustees said Michael Marletta plans to leave the institute, following an internal faculty revolt over the new president’s proposed deal with USC to bridge a $21 million funding shortfall. Marletta’s tenure as president began in early 2012. In a very short statement, the former St. Louis congressman said the board is working on a transition plan with Marletta.

—In our other denouement of the week, the man who succeeded Alan Trounson as president of the San Francisco-based California Institute for Regenerative Medicine pledged to act with personal ethics and integrity. A week after officially leaving his office at the state’s stem cell agency, Trounson joined the board of Newark, CA-based StemCells, a startup that received CIRM funding. The new CIRM president, Randy Mills, said he will refuse gifts or travel payments from any company, institution, or individual who gets CIRM funding. Mills also declared that he will not accept a job with any CIRM-funded company for at least a year following his departure.

—American life sciences companies raised $3.9 billion in 55 initial public offerings during the first half of 2014, accounting for more than 81 percent of the $4.7 billion raised globally in 68 IPOs, according to a tally from Burrill Media. In a statement, CEO G. Steven Burrill said, “The first half of 2014 saw the most life sciences offerings completed in any six month period ever.”

—Meanwhile, life sciences companies continued to go public, but it hasn’t been as easy as it was just a few months ago. In its first day of trading yesterday, San Diego-based Pfenex (NYSE: PFNX) fell to $5.30 a share. The company’s lead candidate is a biosimilar form of ranibizumab (Lucentis), a drug sold by Genentech and Novartis for … Next Page »

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