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Seattle’s Top 10 Innovation Stories of the Half-Year (and Others We Just Plain Liked)

Xconomy Seattle — 

OK, I’m not usually a big fan of end-of-the-year lists. But given that Xconomy Seattle has been up and running for almost exactly six months (since June 16), Luke and I thought it would be fun and informative to share our site’s top 10 most-read stories so far—and why we think they were important or special.

The list is an interesting mix of stories that captures the spirit of what we’re doing here at Xconomy, and it also gives a pretty balanced retrospective on the events of the past half-year. The stories represent our commitment to cover all sorts of innovation in the Northwest, spanning technology, life sciences, breaking news (both good and bad), and in-depth features and analysis.

So, without further ado, here are the 10 most-read Xconomy Seattle stories of the past half-year:

10. Microsoft’s BizSpark Reaches Out to Startups

This piece covered how Microsoft relates to the startup community, through a review of the first 30 days of its BizSpark program.

9. It Came From the Hutch

The untold story of how Tysabri, the most effective multiple sclerosis drug on the market, was invented in a lab right here in Seattle.

8. Immune Design Raises $18M to Build Vaccine Company

Readers were excited to hear about one of the bigger venture financing deals of the year in Seattle, led by a team of superstars in immunology.

7. Heller Ehrman Dissolves

This was bad news based on a layoff filing from Washington State’s Employment Security Department. A global law firm with a large Seattle office, known for its work in the tech and life sciences community, has left the scene.

6. Amgen Scientist Vs. Bone Cancer

The story of a 13-year quest: how the persistence of a Seattle scientist at Amgen may pay off in the coming year, through a new drug for bone loss called denosumab.

5. Nathan Myhrvold Holds Court

An exclusive, in-depth interview with Nathan Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures. The former Microsoft chief technology officer and founder of Microsoft Research covered everything from ping-pong with Bill Gates, to nuclear physics, to how his “invention company” fits in with venture capital and private equity.

4. Keith Grinstein Dies at 48

This was a shocking and sad loss for the Seattle community. Grinstein was a founding partner in Second Avenue Partners, chairman of Coinstar, director of F5 Networks, and director of Labor Ready.

3. Dendreon Holds Its Breath

This story laid out the controversial saga of Dendreon’s prostate cancer drug, Provenge, while the company and its investors were awaiting key clinical trial results.

2. How to Spot a Breakthrough

This piece was based on a riveting talk by Nick Hanauer of Second Avenue Partners. Hanauer, an early investor in Amazon and a number of other successes, spoke about what “breakthrough ideas” are, how to find them, and which companies are developing them.

1. Boeing Develops a “Rotorcraft”

This story tapped into the public’s fascination with newfangled aircraft and unorthodox methods of flight. Boeing’s project to develop an airship-helicopter hybrid, together with SkyHook, faces some technical challenges, as we laid out here. (Think maybe we should do more Boeing stories, or weird-vehicle stories?)

Editors’ Choices

And here are 10 more “editors’ picks”—stories that we particularly liked, because they were fun, unique, and/or surprising, but which didn’t rank in our top 10 in terms of traffic:

Accium Biosciences, Pioneer of Particle Accelerator for Drug Development, Finds Niche

EnerG2, a University of Washington Startup, Raises $8.5M for Energy Storage, Led by OVP

Leroy Hood, Turning 70, Still Aims to Accomplish “The Most Ambitious Things of My Career”

Mayonnaise Wrestling, Flavor Fanaticism, and Social Media on Steroids: The Bacon Salt Story

Paul Allen’s WWII Planes Show How Innovation Can Soar Ahead

Traditional Venture Model is “Broken” for Biotech; Companies Need to Adapt, Says VC Alan Frazier

UW TechTransfer’s Linden Rhoads Aiming to Nurture More Startups, Entice More VCs to Look at UW’s Research Cupboard

Where Innovators Meet Up: The Greater Seattle Coffee Cluster

Why Startups Fail: A Top 10 List from Geoff Entress, Seattle’s Prolific Angel Investor

ZymoGenetics CEO Bruce Carter Retires, Promotes Doug Williams, Says Sad Goodbyes to Biotech “Family”