Swype Scores $1.3M, Onehub Raises $600K, Genzyme Comes to Town, & More Seattle-Area Deals News

4/7/09Follow @gthuang

It was a fairly quiet week for Northwest deals, with activity in biotech, software, and mobile. Let’s see if the sunny weather brings more action.

—Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN), a Bothell, WA-based developer of cancer drugs, provided a worldwide license to use its technology to Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company in exchange for $4 million upfront, as Luke reported. The technology combines antibodies that seek out tumors with toxins to make them more potent. Millennium will pay to develop the drug candidate, as well as a mid-single-digit percentage royalty on sales if it turns the technology into a product.

—Luke reported on the ongoing partnership between biotech startup VLST and Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. The original deal, announced in December, brought in $12 million to VLST in exchange for Novo gaining the rights to develop drugs against cell targets VLST has discovered for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

—Seattle-based Swype, which makes text-input software for mobile devices, raised $1.3 million in funding from angel investors and company management. Swype’s technology lets people enter text by tracing a path on a touch-screen keyboard using a stylus or their fingertip.

—Bellevue, WA-based Onehub, a maker of collaborative software for business users, closed about $600,000 in funding as part of an ongoing $1 million fundraising round. The investors and other terms were not disclosed. Onehub, founded in 2007, has developed a Web-based application that helps companies share information and manage projects.

—MDRNA (NASDAQ: MRNA), a Bothell, WA-based developer of drugs that use RNA interference technology, sold its assets related to a nasal spray drug for osteoporosis to Par Pharmaceutical, as Luke reported. MDRNA receives an undisclosed cash payment upfront, as well as a double-digit percentage royalty on sales of the product. Par will assume the manufacturing and operating costs related to the drug.

—Luke reported that Cambridge, MA-based Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ, the world’s largest maker of drugs for rare genetic diseases, is moving into cancer and multiple sclerosis by acquiring three drugs from German drugmaker Bayer AG—including one, Leukine, that gives Genzyme its first foothold in Seattle. Leukine, which is made in Seattle and Bothell, WA, boosts production of white blood cells for chemotherapy patients. Genzyme is not paying upfront fees, but expects to take over manufacturing of Leukine at a new factory in Snohomish County next year.

—Seattle cloud computing startup Skytap’s $7 million funding round from last month was worth a closer look. I spoke with CEO Scott Roza and director of product management Ian Knox about the financing, which came from the company’s existing Seattle-area investors Ignition Partners, Madrona Venture Group, and WRF Capital. Roza and Knox also touched on Skytap’s strategy as it prepares to take on big players in the cloud like Amazon, Google, and EMC.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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