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SD Life Sciences Roundup: Ambrx Gets Big Partner, GenMark, & More

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diagnose disease and optimize patient treatment, said net proceeds from the public offering will be used for research and development and to expand its commercial organizations in the U.S. and around the world.

—Boston’s NXT Capital Venture Finance Group said it has closed on a $7 million subordinated venture loan to San Diego-based GreatCall, the mobile virtual network operator and parent company of Jitterbug mobile handsets. GreatCall plans to use the additional capital to accelerate its plans to expand its health and wellness services for Jitterbug customers. In addition to the financing, GreatCall has secured venture investments from Charles River Ventures, Court Square Ventures, Nauta Capital, Steelpoint Capital Partners, and Sumitomo.

—The U.S. biotech industry wasn’t immune to the Great Recession, according to a report commissioned by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). The analysis counted more than 1.6 million bioscience-based jobs in the U.S. in 2010—a 1.4 percent decline in employment (or roughly 23,000 fewer biotech industry jobs). Yet biotech fared better than overall private sector employment in the U.S., which fell by 6.9 percent over the same period.

BioMed Ventures’ Bruce Steel told me the venture business he’s led for nearly two years at San Diego’s BioMed Realty (NYSE: BMR) is really more of a strategic partnership initiative than a venture fund. BioMed Realty is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that works closely with the life sciences companies that rent space in its facilities. As Steel told me, “I thought it would be interesting to leverage the entire real estate platform to work more closely with tenants, prospective tenants, and other [life sciences companies], with a view to supporting those companies, and to make a minor investment where appropriate,” Steel said.

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