Seattle Entrepreneurs Call Bay Area VCs, Amazon Sells XOs, Tableau Taps $10M, ZymoGenetics Gives Up Drug Rights, & More Deals News

9/9/08Follow @bbuderi

Everybody should be back from vacation, and the deal flow surging—but someone forgot to tell the dealmakers, as the past week was pretty light for Seattle tech and life sciences action.

—In a deal worth approximately $131 million, Bellevue, WA-based Captaris (NASDAQ: CAPA), which makes business and documents management software, announced it is being acquired by Open Text, a business-software company based in Waterloo, Ontario.

—Tableau Software, a Seattle maker of data visualization tools, announced it has raised a $10 million Series B round from New Enterprise Associates. The funds will be used to expand the sales and product lines of Tableau, which is already profitable and selling its software to customers like Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo.

—Bothell, WA-based biotech company Acucela partnered with Tokyo-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical to develop ACU-4429, its lead drug candidate for the “dry” form of macular degeneration, the top cause of blindness among the elderly. Under the deal, Acucela will receive $5 million up front, and potential milestone payments worth $258 million, with the companies divvying up expenses and profits around the world should ACU-4429 get to market.

—Seattle biotech ZymoGenetics (NASDAQ: ZGEN) agreed to hand over its rights to atacicept—its leading drug candidate for autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis—to its partner, Merck KGaA. Darmstadt, Germany-based Merck, which will now have 100 percent of the worldwide commercial rights to the drug, will pay for all of atacicept ‘s development costs, potentially saving ZymoGenetics more than $200 million over the next several years as the drug advances through the last stages of clinical trials.

—Oncothyreon (NASDAQ: ONTY), a Seattle biotech company developing drugs against cancer, said it will sell 5.1 million additional shares of stock in the second week of September. The company plans to use the proceeds to support clinical trials of two of its drugs in development, PX-478 and PX-866, and seek a partner to further develop another drug, PX-12.

Amazon is teaming up with Cambridge, MA-based One Laptop Per Child Foundation. The “Give One, Get One” program offered by OLPC last holiday season gave U.S. and Canadian consumers the opportunity to buy two XO laptops for $400: one for themselves, the other for a child in a developing country. But the implementation, as Wade noted, “was a fiasco.” This holiday season, OLPC plans to repeat the offer—but it’s put Amazon in charge. If any company can fulfill orders during the holidays, it’s Amazon.

—It wasn’t about one particular deal, but a host of them, past and future, as Greg got the lowdown on why the Seattle startup community wants Bay Area VCs to spend more time in Seattle. (Hint: it might not just be the money.)

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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