Clearwire Closes $1.5B, Alder Scores $1B Partnership, Software Financings Are Down, & More Seattle-Area Deals News

11/10/09Follow @gthuang

Healthcare deals are going one way, tech deals another. That’s my read from the past week in the Northwest, where we’ve seen some of the biggest biotech deals around, even as a prominent Seattle tech venture firm (and software financings in general) head south.

—Bothell, WA-based Alder Biopharmaceuticals scored one of the biggest biotech partnerships of the year, as Luke reported today. The company has formed a collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) to develop Alder’s experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug, ALD518, and the deal could be worth more than $1 billion. In exchange for granting Bristol a worldwide exclusive license to develop ALD518 for all uses except cancer, Alder will get $85 million upfront, as much as $764 million in development and regulatory milestone payments, sales-related milestone payments that could exceed $200 million, and royalties on product sales.

—I took a look at the venture and debt financings for Washington companies last month (and the previous two months), and concluded that large investments in software startups aren’t coming back anytime soon. The data, courtesy of New York-based ChubbyBrain, shows most of the money is in healthcare and life sciences.

—Kirkland, WA-based Clearwire has secured an additional investment of $1.5 billion from Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Intel, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Google, a previous investor, is not participating in the round. The money will support Clearwire’s (NASDAQ: CLWR) deployment of its WiMax broadband network.

Verathon, a Bothell, WA-based maker of ultrasound technology, has been acquired by Sarasota, FL-based Roper Industries (NYSE: ROP) as part of a pair of transactions worth a combined $356 million, as Luke reported. The price of Verathon’s sale by itself was not announced. The company develops a 3-D diagnostic imaging tool that helps doctors diagnose bladder disorders.

—One of Seattle’s most prominent tech VC firms will not be raising another fund or making new investments. Len Jordan of Frazier Technology Ventures confirmed the news as he announced he’s moving to Madrona Venture Group at the beginning of next year.

—Bellevue, WA-based Light Sciences Oncology has lined up $35 million in follow-up financing to develop its drug-device treatment for cancer, as Luke reported. The investors weren’t disclosed, but the deal gives Light Sciences the right to access a $23.3 million line of credit, and $11.8 million more if investors choose to exercise warrants. The company raised $40 million from undisclosed VCs last year.

—Seattle startup Movaya Wireless has been acquired by Digby, a mobile commerce firm based in Austin, TX, for an undisclosed price. Movaya was founded in 2006 by Phil Yerkes and Stanley Wang, and focuses on making digital goods storefront applications for the iPhone, Android, and mobile Web platforms. The company’s development team in China will serve as the basis for Digby’s operations in Asia.

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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