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San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Regulus IPO, Fate Funding, & More

Xconomy San Diego — 

The week’s big news in San Diego’s life sciences sector came with the IPO filing by Regulus Therapeutics. The proposed IPO also will test relaxed rules for emerging companies under the new Jump Start Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. It will be a story worth following, and you can get started here.

—After signing partnerships with AstraZeneca and Biogen-Idec, San Diego’s Regulus Therapeutics filed for an initial public offering that would raise $57.5 million. Regulus, founded five years ago by Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY) and Carlsbad, CA-based Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS) would use the proceeds to fund work on its pipeline of microRNA drugs in pre-clinical development for cancer, hepatitis C, cardiovascular disease, and fibrotic disorders.

Fate Therapeutics, the San Diego startup developing new drugs from stem cell technology, has raised more than $9.2 million from investors, according to a recent regulatory filing. When Venrock partner (and former Idec Pharmaceuticals CEO) Bill Rastetter was named as CEO nine months ago, we reported that Fate had raised more than $50 million in venture capital from Arch Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, OVP Venture Partners, Venrock, and others. VentureWire reports that total funding for Fate is closer to $66 million.

—FDA regulators have cleared the mobile wireless technology that San Diego’s Sotera Wireless has developed for monitoring hospital patients’ vital signs. The FDA already approved Sotera’s ViSi mobile monitor, a device that wraps around a patient’s wrist and collects vital signs from sensors on the patient’s chest and thumb. The latest FDA decree clears the WiFi technology that Sotera uses to transmit the data to a hospital workstation.

—San Diego-based MediciNova said the Aspire Capital Fund made a $1 million investment as the first installment in an agreement to buy as much as $20 million worth of MediciNova shares over the next two years. MediciNova said it will use the proceeds to fund development of its lead drug candidates. One is for acute asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and the other is targeting multiple sclerosis, drug addiction, and chronic pain.

—After reaching its first milestone, San Diego-based Aethlon Medical said the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has agreed to continue funding the company’s work under an existing $6.8 million contract to advance dialysis-like therapies. Aethlon has been developing a device that uses antibody-coated filters to selectively filter infectious organisms, cancer cells, and other life-threatening particles in the bloodstream.