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San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Acadia, Zogenix, Isis, & More

Xconomy San Diego — 

It was a big week for news from San Diego’s public life sciences companies. We have all the deals, dollars, and developments wrapped up here.

—San Diego’s Acadia Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ACAD) said it’s raising $86.4 million through a private stock placement that is expected to close Monday. As Xconomy recently reported, Acadia reported encouraging results last month in a pivotal, late-stage clinical trial of pimavanserin, a new drug intended to control hallucinations associated with advanced Parkinson’s disease. Proceeds of the private stock placement will be used mostly to complete final clinical studies of pimavanserin.

—San Diego-based Zogenix (Nasdaq: ZGNX) said the FDA’s Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee (AADPAC) recommended that health regulators reject its new drug application for an extended-release formulation of hydrocodone without acetaminophen (Zohydro). Zogenix had proposed the drug for managing moderate-to-severe chronic pain when a continuous opioid analgesic is needed around the clock. The FDA is expected to issue a final decision by March 1, 2013.

—A Texas drug holding company agreed to buy San Diego’s Somaxon Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SOMX) in a stock deal valued at $25 million. Pernix Therapeutics Holdings (NYSE: PTX) said Somaxon’s insomnia drug doxepin (Silenor) would broaden its line of branded drugs. Somaxon was under pressure from generic drug makers that were seeking FDA approval to sell generic versions of doxepin for insomnia.

—Carlsbad, CA-based Isis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ISIS) said it had struck some lucrative partnerships. Isis signed one deal with London’s AstraZeneca to advance five cancer drugs. AstraZeneca agreed to pay Isis $31 million almost immediately, along with unspecified milestone payments and other fees. In a three-drug deal for three neurological drugs, Weston, MA-based Biogen Idec agreed to pay Isis $30 million upfront, along with future payments that could ultimately total $600.

—San Diego’s Halozyme Therapeutics (Nasdaq: HALO said Roche has asked the European Medicines Agency for permission to use a subcutaneous formulation of rituxumab (MabThera) for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. The drug is typically administered intravenously at infusion centers. Halozyme’s technology makes it possible, however, to administer an extended-release injection of rituxumab just under the skin. Roche’s application triggered a $4 million milestone payment to Halozyme under their collaboration agreement.

—A memorial service will be held Saturday morning in Oak Park, IL, for Fred Cutler, a longtime computer marketing executive who served for three years as director of Connect, the San Diego nonprofit for technology entrepreneurship. Cutler died of a rare and aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on Dec. 2 in Madison, WI.

—San Diego’s Ligand Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: LGND) said it has begun a pivotal trial intended to confirm an earlier study that showed its specialized, high-dose formulation of melphalan helps to condition patients with multiple myeloma to autologous transplant. Ligand says its melphalan, a captisol-enabled formula that is free of propylene glycol, is a new formulation for use before multiple myeloma transplants.

—San Diego-based Verenium (Nasdaq: VRNM, an industrial biotech focused on the use of catalyzing enzymes in sustainable biofuels and sustainable chemical production, said it had arranged $22.5 million in debt financing through the Athyrium Opportunities Fund. Verenium said the capital would be used to advance its product line to commercialization, improve its manufacturing prospects, and for working capital.

—San Diego’s Cytori Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CYTX) said it plans to offer shares of its common stock through an underwritten public offering. The company provided no details, however, about the timing, amount, or price of the offering. All of the shares in the offering would be sold by Cytori.