Alder Rises from Ashes, Seattle Genetics Gets Empowered, ZymoGenetics Nets $79M & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

1/7/10Follow @xconomy

The New Year kicked off with a lot of exclusive biotech news and features, and next week will be even busier when I’m attending next week’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

Alder Biopharmaceuticals was one of the Seattle biotech companies that emerged in 2009, but few people realize what humble beginnings it had six years ago when all the founders lost their jobs in a downsizing at Celltech. We published the story of how they bootstrapped the Bothell, WA-based company for its first 20 months, putting it on a course to snag a $1 billion partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

—Seattle-based ZymoGenetics (NASDAQ: ZGEN) saw its stock double in 2009, and this week it decided to seize on that growing interest to hit up investors for more cash. The company ended up netting $79 million after expenses from an underwritten stock offering. It plans to use the money for R&D, and to inject some life into its lone marketed product, recombinant thrombin for surgical bleeding.

—Bothell,WA-based Halosource, the developer of a cheap and simple technology for purifying water in developing countries, said it has raised $10 million in a new equity financing. The company has gotten some momentum with more than 4 million people using its technology in India, and it plans to use the money to expand further in other countries.

—Antibody drugs that target diseased cells and spare healthy ones have been one of the big successes in biotech, but Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN) says it’s not really the cutting edge anymore. The Bothell, WA-based company’s CEO, Clay Siegall, says it is “unlikely” it will introduce any more plain antibodies into clinical trials, and that the future will belong to antibodies that are “empowered” to be more potent.

—We had a number of insightful guest editorials. Stephen Friend, the founder and CEO of Sage Bionetworks, offered his view of five biotechnologies that will fade away this decade. Bob Nelsen of Arch Venture Partners chimed in with his top five innovations to watch during the ’10s (or whatever we’re calling this decade). And Stewart Lyman looked back at the year that was in Seattle biotech.

Stratos Genomics, the Seattle-based developer of a faster and cheaper DNA sequencing technology, has received three months of access to a microfabrication laboratory at the Washington Technology Center on the University of Washington campus. This was part of a stimulus program for small technology businesses in Washington state.

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