Jobster Gets New Owner, MDRNA Merges with Cequent and Teams Up with Pfizer, & More Seattle-Area Deals News

4/6/10Follow @gthuang

Today has been a most interesting day in the Seattle tech and media community. There was some prominent TV and radio coverage of TechStars (see Andy Sack and Andy Liu interviewed on KING 5 here), the North American Eagle “jet car” (interview with team leader Ed Shadle on KUOW, following Thea’s story here), and the Rhapsody spinoff from RealNetworks (also on KUOW with Todd Bishop from TechFlash). Meanwhile, Twiistup (the posh LA event company) is coming to Seattle later this month, brought here by some of the same local investors involved with TechStars.

What does this have to do with deals in the Northwest? Well, I get the feeling the volume of deals is about to pop. But here’s what happened in the past week.

—Bothell, WA-based MDRNA (NASDAQ: MRNA) formed a research agreement with pharma giant Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) to take certain polymers and synthesize them into RNA interference drugs, as Luke reported. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

—Seattle-based venture capital firm Maveron has invested in a $1.25 million funding round for Latimer Education, a Washington, DC-based company developing an online university focused on African-American students. Angel investors and the company’s founders also participated in the round. Maveron has been active in the online education sector, having made previous investments in Capella Education Company, Livemocha, and Altius Education.

—Seattle-based Recruiting.com sold off its Jobster business, brand, and URL to Boston-area talent management firm Zapoint. Financial terms weren’t given, and it sounds like the employees of Recruiting.com (about 10 of them) won’t be moving anytime soon. Jobster was founded in 2004 and had raised more than $50 million in venture capital from Ignition Partners, Trinity Ventures, Reed Elsevier Ventures, and Mayfield Fund.

—Earlier in the week, MDRNA announced it is merging with Cequent Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, MA, in an all-stock deal worth $46 million, as Ryan reported. MDRNA’s investors will have a 56 percent ownership stake, with Cequent’s backers owning the rest of the company. The combined company will be headquartered in Bothell, WA, under the leadership of MDRNA’s current CEO, J. Michael French. The merger is expected to close by July of this year.

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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