Targeted Genetics Lives On, CellCyte Charged With Fraud, Theraclone Finds HIV Weakness, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

9/10/09Follow @xconomy

There were some striking highs and lows in Seattle biotech this week.

—Seattle-based Targeted Genetics (NASDAQ: TGEN), the stalwart of gene therapy, needed a lifeline if it was going to survive any longer, and it got one at the last minute this week from Cambridge, MA-based biotech giant Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ). Targeted is handing over some intellectual property on gene therapy manufacturing for $7 million—enough to keep the doors open through 2010.

—Many biotechs have been known to overhype groundbreaking new therapies, but this week the SEC charged one Seattle-area company with crossing the line into investor fraud. The SEC leveled the charges against Bothell, WA-based CellCyte Genetics, and its former executives.

—The guys who created the Sonicare toothbrush have another hit on their hands with the Clarisonic. This is a $195 device that uses sonic wave technology as a new way of skin cleansing. Clarisonic, led by entrepreneur David Giuliani, topped $40 million in sales last year, has grown to 150 employees, and is turning consistent annual profits, he says.

—Seattle-based Theraclone Sciences and its collaborators made international headlines with the discovery of two antibodies with broad ability to neutralize HIV. This groundbreaking work helped Theraclone pick up some precious funding for its research from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.

—Seattle-based Trubion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TRBN) struck a deal last month with Redwood City, CA-based Facet Biotech (NASDAQ: FACT). But one of the world’s biggest biotech companies, Cambridge, MA-based Biogen Idec, which was looking to take over Facet, said in a statement it didn’t like the new deal with Trubion. Biogen is now mounting a hostile takeover bid for Facet.

Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN), the Bothell, WA-based developer of antibody drugs for cancer, said this week it achieved a milestone with Bayer Schering Pharma AG, one of the companies that has bought a license to its technology for linking antibodies to toxins that can make them more potent.

Complete Genomics, the Mountain View, CA-based company that has a goal of sequencing entire human genomes for $5,000, said it has completed 14 full genomes for customers since March. Kirkland, WA-based OVP Venture Partners is one of the founding investors in this company.

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