Accelerator’s New Cancer Startup, 23andMe Hanging at the ISB, How to Make $ With No IPO, & More in Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

5/26/11Follow @xconomy

This week’s biotech news roundup is short and sweet.

Accelerator, the Seattle-based hothouse for biotech startups, is humming with the activity of a new cancer drug startup called Oncofactor. This company is setting out to spur the immune system to fight tumors.

23andMe, the Mountain View, CA-based consumer genetic testing company, made an appearance at the Institute for Systems Biology’s annual symposium a while back, and boldly declared that it wants to be a “research company.” Many geneticists snicker at how the company generates data that really isn’t worth much, but ISB president Lee Hood has become increasingly interested in how scientists can tap into the company’s database of 75,000 people, who might be willing to participate in certain kinds of research studies.

—How can a biotech entrepreneur make money with no hope of going public, and fat chance of getting acquired by a Big Pharma company? This week’s BioBeat focused on how Jim Posada of Seattle-based Resolve Therapeutics has structured his company so it will generate liquid returns if he can strike a simple licensing transaction. This idea has sparked a fair bit of commentary on the web, who either like the idea or don’t. A couple days later, Bruce Booth, a partner at Atlas Venture in Boston, wrote an interesting post with his take on various biotech business models.

—Lastly, we had a guest post from Richard Gayle, about “finding a solution to our biotech malaise together.” Gayle laments how hard it is for the sector to offer sustainable employment for scientists and many others required to keep the industry strong, and he’s trying to bring people together to figure out a solution. I’ll keep this post in mind the next time I hear a local pol trot out data from an industry-funded study which says biotech jobs are so bountiful they are growing on trees.

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