West Coast Biotech Roundup: Scripps, Trounson, Versant, Gilead, & More

7/10/14Follow @alexlash

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that pointed to information about its drug tenofovir (Viread) with the phrase “hepatitis B prevention.” But prevention is not part of the drug’s official label. The FDA sent a warning letter to Gilead late last month, and the Wall Street Journal‘s Pharmalot column reported it Tuesday.

—Histogen, a San Diego regenerative medicine company with technology for growing human cells under simulated embryonic conditions, said it has formed Histogen Oncology in a joint venture funded by a group of experts from the medical device industry. Histogen said it has identified a “sub-fraction” of its proprietary human multipotent cell conditioned media that has inhibited growth of malignant cells and circulating tumor cells.

—The state of Washington’s Life Science Discovery Fund will start accepting proposals for two grant programs available to nonprofits and for-profits, but only if the for-profits have not exceeded $500,000 in equity investment or convertible debt. The rules for the grant programs are here and here.

—Syapse of Palo Alto, CA, said Thursday it has raised a $10 million Series B round led by Safeguard Scientifics (NYSE: SFE). Syapse software combines medical and genomic patient data to help clinicians make treatment decisions.

—Raptor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: RPTP) of Novato, CA, announced Monday its CEO succession plan. Julie Anne Smith, currently executive vice president and COO, will take over the top spot at the start of 2015 from Chris Starr, a co-founder who has run the drug maker for nine years. Raptor has one product on the market, a treatment for the rare kidney disease nephropathic cystinosis, in the U.S. and E.U.

—Tocagen, a San Diego biotech developing gene therapy treatments for gliomas and other terminal cancers, has raised about $8.5 million of a planned $15.7 million investment round, according to a regulatory filing last week. A spokeswoman for the startup, founded by serial entrepreneur Harry Gruber, says Tocagen “does not disclose how much it has raised.” She also notes “the SEC filing does not represent a complete picture of the company’s financing objectives.”

Scripps Pier photo courtesy of SD Dirk via a Creative Commons license.

Alex Lash is Xconomy's National Biotech Editor. He is based in San Francisco. Follow @alexlash

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