Dendreon and Cell Therapeutics Sell Stock, Microsoft Buys BigPark, Calistoga Raises $30M, & More Seattle-Area Deals News

5/12/09Follow @gthuang

The days have gotten longer, and deals are really flowing in the Northwest. In the past week, there has been quite a bit of activity across different sectors of biotech, energy, and software.

—Luke reported that Seattle-based Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CTIC) sold $20 million worth of common stock, and warrants to buy stock, to a single unnamed institutional investor. The biotech firm hopes to swap some of that money, along with the $17.8 million in cash it currently has and some more common stock, to get rid of some $89.2 million in debt that will come due as early as 2010.

—Vancouver, BC-based Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, a maker of RNA interference drug delivery technology, formed a partnership with Swiss healthcare company Roche worth $18.4 million in upfront cash, Luke reported. Tekmira’s lipid-nanoparticle technique will be used in two of Roche’s products, and Tekmira will also receive $32 million in milestone payments if the products reach certain development goals.

—Seattle-based DocuSign, a digital-signature technology company, raised $5 million in Series D funding, led by previous investors Frazier Technology Ventures, Ignition Partners, Sigma Partners, and West River Capital. The software startup, founded in 2003, has raised some $30 million in venture capital.

—Luke reported that Seattle-based Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN) raised $197.4 million in a stock offering that is expected to close on May 13. The underwriter of the offering, Deutsche Bank Securities, has an option to buy another 1.27 million shares at the same terms within 30 days, which would amount to an additional $23 million. Dendreon will use the money to expand manufacturing and marketing of its experimental drug for prostate cancer, Provenge.

—Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is acquiring BigPark, an online gaming company based in Vancouver, BC. Financial terms of the deal were not announced. BigPark, which was co-founded by Hanno Lemke and Microsoft senior vice president Don Mattrick, will become part of Microsoft Game Studios.

—Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has invested in Seattle-based Foodista, an online cooking encyclopedia site. The amount of funding of the Series A round, which included other angel investors, was around $550,000, according to media reports. Foodista, which was founded by two ex-Amazon veterans, launched its wiki site in December.

—Neelan Choksi of Lexcycle, the e-book software startup recently bought by Amazon, gave me the scoop on his experiences as an MIT blackjack team member and dot-com entrepreneur, the story of Lexcycle, and his thoughts on moving to Seattle. Lexcycle is the maker of Stanza, a popular iPhone application for browsing, buying, and reading e-books.

—Luke reported on the second-biggest life sciences financing of the year, Kirkland, WA-based Calistoga Pharmaceuticals’ $30 million Series B round, led by existing investors Frazier Healthcare Ventures, Alta Partners, Three Arch Partners, and Amgen Ventures. Calistoga was founded in 2006 and is working on novel drugs for cancer and inflammation.

—Seattle-based Powerit Solutions, makers of energy efficiency and energy management technology for commercial and industrial facilities, raised $6 million from new investors Siemens Venture Capital and ArcelorMittal’s Clean Technology Fund. The round also included existing investors @Ventures and Expansion Capital Partners. Powerit will use the money to accelerate market growth and expand its product development and sales.

—Ryan reported on Seattle-based Gist’s $6.75 million Series A round, led by Foundry Group and Vulcan Capital. Gist founder T.A. McCann told me the story of how the deal originally came about through a meeting with Foundry Group’s Brad Feld in Colorado. Gist makes software to help people organize communications with business contacts and Web information about them.

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. Follow @gthuang

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