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West Coast Biotech Roundup: Qualcomm, Google X, Mapp, Onyx, & More

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Most of California hasn’t had rain in a month, Seattle had a few days of “Juneuary” this past week, and West Coast tech titans warmed up the life-science news flow. Qualcomm, with its interest in digital health, is teaming with Roche to monitor patients in clinical trials. Google, with its interest in, well, everything, will pair with Biogen Idec on multiple sclerosis research. All this and more, so let’s get to the roundup.

—Two weeks after its deal with Novartis (NYSE: NVS) to provide wireless technologies to monitor patients in clinical trials, San Diego-based Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) said Thursday its Qualcomm Life subsidiary has inked a similar deal with Roche. Qualcomm and Roche say they’ll work together to improve remote patient monitoring, advance management of chronically ill patients, and find new ways to help patients take charge of their own health.

—Google X, the skunkworks lab division of the Mountain View, CA-based tech giant, is working with Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) to collect and analyze data from multiple sclerosis patients, with an eye toward explaining why the symptoms and progression of the mysterious disease are so unpredictable from patient to patient. Bloomberg broke the story Tuesday.

— Sequenom (NASDAQ: SQNM) and Cypher Genomics, both of San Diego, agreed to develop prenatal diagnostic tests that use a maternal blood sample. They specifically want to identify and analyze difficult-to-detect fetal sub-chromosomal variants.

—One drug identified as a potential treatment for the current Ebola outbreak is ZMapp, from San Diego’s Mapp Biopharmaceutical. But efforts to speed up production have fallen short and frustrated biodefense and infectious disease experts, according to a recent report in the New York Times.

—The University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design has named Tachi Yamada, George Church, Peter Goodfellow, and Bryan White as the inaugural members of its new advisory board.

—South San Francisco, CA-based Onyx Pharmaceuticals, a division of Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN), has asked the FDA to expand its approval of carfilzomib (Kyprolis) to multiple myeloma patients whose disease has relapsed after at least one other therapy. Onyx also asked European regulators for approval to treat the same patient group.

—The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a $200,000 prize to San Francisco’s Reference Genomics and its One Codex genomic search technology for its “no petri dish” contest to identify toxic E. coli without growing them in a culture.

—A Journal of Thoracic Oncology study has backed up previous data from Xpresys Lung, a test made by Seattle’s Integrated Diagnostics (Indi) that sorts out patients with benign lung nodules, preventing unnecessary surgeries. Indi said last fall that several insurance companies agreed to cover the cost of the test.

—Otonomy of San Diego (NASDAQ: OTIC) closed a follow-on stock offering this week, raising $86 million by selling 2.9 million shares at $29.25 apiece.