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Raleigh-Durham Roundup: Tengion, IBM, Velocity, & More

Xconomy Raleigh-Durham — 

Here are this week’s headlines in North Carolina tech and biotech news:

—Tengion (OTC: TNGN) is looking to use its regenerative medicine technology to secure a possible deal with another company as the Winston-Salem, NC, firm tries to find a way to supplement its dwindling pile of cash.

Tengion’s technology, spun out of Wake Forest University’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, uses a patient’s own cells to attempt to regrow tissue. The company says it is “exploring all strategic options” and has hired Jefferies LLC to help review and structure any possible transactions. According to Tengion’s second quarter financial report, the company estimates it has enough cash to last until the end of 2014.

Two of Tengion’s experimental treatments are in clinical trials. The company’s neo-urinary conduit, which is in Phase 1 trials, is being tested as a way to provide an easier way to urinate, for patients who have had their bladder removed due to cancer or other disease. The company is also enrolling patients in a Phase 1 trial of its neo-kidney augment program, which is a study of the company’s approach to use a patient’s cells to improve or replace kidney function for those with chronic kidney disease.

It’s not the first time that Tengion has turned to pharma partners and other investors as its cash reserves ran low. Last year, the company secured $33.6 million in financing from a group of investors including Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG). That deal gave Celgene the right of first negotiation on Tengion’s kidney program.

—IBM (NYSE: IBM) has opened a new data center at its Research Triangle Park, NC, campus that will provide security and disaster recovery services for its corporate customers.

Big Blue says the new “resiliency center” will monitor disaster events and mobilize as needed to keep data, applications, and transactions secure. Two new centers, similar to the one in RTP, are planned for Mumbai, India, and Izmir, Turkey. IBM estimates that the market for business continuity and disaster recovery will grow to almost $32 billion by 2015.

—Cloud services firm Velocity Technology is relocating its headquarters from New York City to Charlotte, NC. The move follows Velocity’s acquisition earlier this year of Charlotte cloud hosting firm Titan Technology Partners. Velocity CEO Tom Bruno says after the Titan deal, executives wanted to consolidate operations in a single location. When the relocation is complete in October, Velocity will have 50 employees in Charlotte, a total that the company expects to grow to 200 in coming years.

Velocity, a portfolio company of private equity firm Silver Lake Sumeru, hosts and manages enterprise and business applications in a virtual private cloud. The company currently employs 750 worldwid

—A new $2 million investment fund targeting startup consumer product companies has emerged in Durham, NC.  Bootstrap Advisors includes three of the four founders of the company behind the “Thundershirt,” a close-fitting shirt worn by dogs intended to calm them from loud noises, such as thunder. Ben Feldman, Chris Ng Cashin, and Jay Mebane tell the Raleigh News & Observer that they aim to fill a funding void in the region for consumer startups. Most of the available funding, they say, targets technology and life science companies. Bootstrap says it has invested in two companies so far and plans to invest in up to three more.