Signature Genomic Gets Sold for $90M, DreamBox Bought by Netflix CEO, The $7M Madrona Man, & More Seattle-Area Deals News

4/21/10Follow @gthuang

A very wide range of deals were done this week in the Northwest, ranging from small tech partnerships and fundings to a large biotech acquisition. Methinks the action will pick up in the next month before summertime.

—Bellevue, WA-based DreamBox Learning, an online math education startup, has been acquired by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and the Charter Fund, a nonprofit VC firm. Financial details weren’t given, but the deal includes a new $10 million investment in DreamBox. Hastings is a board member of Microsoft and an educational philanthropist. DreamBox is one of several companies leading the way in online “adaptive learning” technologies for kids.

—Seattle-based Airbiquity formed a partnership with Tokyo-based Hitachi Automotive Systems to develop wireless telecom systems for electric vehicles. Financial terms weren’t announced. The deal is part of a broader effort to establish a global infrastructure for wirelessly connected vehicles and intelligent transportation services.

—I took a deeper dive into Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group’s recent investment in Searchandise Commerce, an e-commerce and paid search company based in the Boston area. The $7 million deal is the brainchild of Brian McAndrews, Madrona’s newest managing director and the former CEO of aQuantive.

Seattle Genetics, the cancer drug developer based in Bothell, WA, and Genentech, the U.S. unit of Roche, have extended a licensing agreement for developing “empowered antibodies,” as Luke reported. Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN) will receive $9.5 million upfront, plus milestone payments and royalties on sales of any FDA-approved products, while Genentech will pay for developing and marketing the drugs, which are designed to be more potent cancer-cell killers.

—We summed up the top 10 venture deals for companies in Washington state in the first quarter of 2010. Leading the way in terms of dollars were Visible Technologies and BlueKai (more than $20 million each), while mobile-app startup Zumobi managed to sneak in $7 million under our noses. Only one out of the top 10 deals was a Series A financing.

—Spokane, WA-based Signature Genomic Laboratories is being acquired by PerkinElmer (NYSE: PKI), the Waltham, MA-based scientific instrument maker. The deal is worth a whopping $90 million in cash, as Luke reported.

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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