Zulily Gets Funded, Ontela Merges with Photobucket, OncoGenex Secures $60M from Teva, & More Seattle-Area Deals News

12/22/09Follow @gthuang

It was another pretty busy week for deals in the Northwest, as everyone scrambled to beat the holiday rush. Lots of action in biotech, Internet, and mobile.

—Seattle-based ZymoGenetics (NASDAQ: ZGEN) is getting back the full rights to its drug for surgical bleeding in the U.S. and every other country except Canada, under a restructured partnership with German giant Bayer, as Luke reported. Bayer will no longer have to pay ZymoGenetics as much as $16 million in milestone payments for regulatory approvals around the world, while ZymoGenetics will have to pay Bayer as much as $12 million in commissions over the next two years, about half of what it could have owed Bayer under the old agreement, which was made in June 2007.

—Bothell, WA-based OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OGXI) has clinched $60 million in upfront payments from Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical for the right to co-develop an experimental prostate cancer drug, as Luke reported. Teva will pay $10 million to buy stock in OncoGenex, provide $20 million in upfront cash, and make a $30 million prepayment on development costs for OncoGenex’s drug, OGX-011, in addition to future milestone payments and royalties on product sales. But OncoGenex’s stock took a dive as investors saw how much of the future royalties will end up going to Carlsbad, CA-based Isis Pharmaceuticals.

—Seattle-based Zulily emerged from stealth mode, having raised a $4.6 million Series A round led by Maveron, the venture firm founded by Howard Schultz and Dan Levitan. Zulily, which is led by ex-Blue Nilers Darrell Cavens (CEO) and Mark Vadon (chairman), is building a “private sale,” members-only shopping website focused on kids and baby products.

—Bothell, WA-based Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN) secured $12 million in upfront payments from GlaxoSmithKline in exchange for its technology that links antibodies to toxins that make them more potent, as Luke reported. Seattle Genetics is also in line for up to $390 million in milestone payments, plus royalties on worldwide product sales.

—Seattle-based Ontela, a mobile-imaging startup focused on helping consumers get pictures off their camera phones, merged with Denver, CO-based Photobucket, the photo-sharing website. Financial details weren’t given. The new entity goes by Photobucket, and Ontela’s venture backers—including Voyager Capital, Steamboat Ventures, Oak Investment Partners, and Covera Ventures—are putting new cash into it. Photobucket was previously owned by News Corporation (Fox).

—Seattle-based AltAir Fuels inked agreements with 14 major airlines to negotiate the purchase of up to 750 million gallons of camelina-based jet fuel and diesel. AltAir was formed in 2008 and plans to produce biofuels at a new facility in Anacortes, WA, slated to open in 2012.

—Lastly, the seed-stage investment fund and startup boot camp TechStars is coming to Seattle next fall, with the weight (and resources) of virtually every local tech investment firm behind it. I talked with entrepreneur and investor Andy Sack, who will head the Seattle effort, and Madrona Venture Group’s Greg Gottesman, who helped bring the program here, about the significance to the local tech startup scene.

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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