West Coast Biotech Roundup: MappBio, Juno, Zosano, and More

8/7/14Follow @bvbigelow

The IPO window is still open, sort of, but life sciences companies are not getting through unscathed. San Francisco-based Tobira Therapeutics and New York’s Microlin Bio postponed their offerings after Lexington, MA-based T2 Biosystems and Switzerland’s Auris Medical slashed the terms of their Nasdaq IPOs this week. Now all eyes are on San Diego-based Otonomy, which like Auris specializes in treatments for ear diseases and disorders, and was expected to go public in the next week or so. According to the IPO investment firm Renaissance Capital, 185 companies have gone public so far this year in the U.S., about 55 percent more than the number at this time last year.

—Cancer immunotherapeutics developer Juno Therapeutics of Seattle said Monday it has raised a $134 million Series B round to bring its total cash raised to $310 million. The round includes ten public mutual funds and healthcare-focused funds, all new to Juno, according to the company, which did not disclose the investors’ names. All “major” prior investors also joined the round. Juno’s top investors in its $176 million Series A included ARCH Venture Partners, the state of Alaska’s Permanent Fund, Venrock’s public-investment fund, and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos’s personal investment vehicle, known as Bezos Expeditions.

—An experimental drug given in Liberia to two Americans healthcare workers infected with the deadly Ebola virus was produced by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, a small San Diego biotech founded in 2003. With funding provided by U.S. and Canadian bio-defense grants, MappBio worked with LeafBio, a San Diego commercialization partner, and Defyrus, a private bio-defense company in Toronto, Canada, to make ZMapp, a drug cocktail composed of three “humanized” monoclonal antibodies. According to David Kroll in Forbes, ZMapp helps to stimulate an immune response to the Ebola virus. MappBio says the drug was only identified eight months ago and has not been evaluated for safety in humans.

ProteinSimple, a Santa Clara, CA, startup developing technology and software to analyze proteins, withdrew its IPO filing after Minneapolis, MN-based Bio-Techne (NASDAQ: TECH) said it had finalized its $300 million acquisition of the California startup. ProteinSimple, founded in 2000, has about 200 employees and booked … 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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