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West Coast Biotech Roundup: Dendreon, Invitae, Juno, Regulus & More

Xconomy Seattle — 

Seattle might be second in professional handegg, but it comes first in this week’s West Coast roundup. The big news is that former high flyer Dendreon is all but sold, with the ever-acquisitive Quebeckers at Valeant on the buying end. Moving down the coast to the Bay Area, we’ve got Invitae pulling off the year’s first big biotech IPO, plus some sharp rhetoric from a top Gilead exec. And in San Diego, hepatitis C data from Regulus and a big cash infusion for antifungal maker Cidara topped the news. We’re in a Pacific state of mind, and it’s roundup time.

—Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDNQ) of Seattle will be acquired out of bankruptcy by Canadian pharma company Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRX), which bid $400 million. There were no other offers, and the deal will be official if the bankruptcy court signs off.

—Juno Therapeutics (NASDAQ: JUNO) of Seattle said Monday it would open a 68,000 square foot manufacturing plant in nearby Bothell, WA, to produce its cell therapies for clinical trials and potentially commercial products, if any come to market.

—Immune Design (NASDAQ: IMDZ) of Seattle and South San Francisco, CA, said Wednesday it has begun a Phase 1 trial of its G100 cancer immunotherapy agent, combined with radiation therapy, in patients with metastatic sarcoma.

—Seattle biopharma consultant and Xconomy columnist Stewart Lyman wrote this week about resistance to change throughout the history of medicine.

—Diagnostics maker Invitae (NASDAQ: NVTA) of San Francisco sold 6.35 million shares at $16 apiece to raise $102 million in its IPO. The firm offers several diagnostic tests for cancer, heart conditions, and other inherited diseases, and allows customers to mix and match them into a single $1,500 order.

—John Milligan, the president and COO of Foster City, CA-based Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD), was in New York earlier this week to tell a conference crowd that his company’s hepatitis C cures are undervalued and arguably have greater benefit to society than cancer drugs that extend lives for a few years.

—Portola Valley, CA-based DigiSight Technologies said Tuesday it has raised a $7.8 million B round to pour into mobile technology that lets eye doctors monitor their patients’ sight between visits.

—Bay Area seed funder Breakout Labs added three companies to its portfolio: the drug-screening firms E3XBio and Ion Dx, and the stress-biosensor maker Neumitra.

—Based in Menlo Park, CA, Armetheon said Monday it has raised $24 million in a Series B round to fund a Phase 3 trial for its anticoagulant tecarfarin, which the company wants to show can outperform the standard of care warfarin in a subset of patients.

—Shares of San Diego-based Regulus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: RGLS) this week regained much of the ground lost Monday, when the specialist in micro-RNA drugs reported hepatitis C data that didn’t meet Wall Street expectations. The new data showed an improved response among patients who got a 4 mg/kg injection of its experimental treatment RG-101. But two patients who had no detectable virus after getting a 2 mg/kg injection relapsed, which clouded its prospects as a one-shot cure. Shares fell 16 percent to close at $14.12 Monday but were back to $17 mid-day Thursday.

—Trovagene (NASDAQ: TROV) raised gross proceeds of $23 million in a secondary offering of more than 5 million shares. The company plans to use the capital to advance development of its diagnostic technology for detecting DNA fragments from tumors that are circulating in both urine and blood.

—Carlsbad, CA-based ResMed (NYSE: RMD) said it acquired Jaysec, a Knoxville, TN-based software developer that helps home medical equipment providers use the Internet to resupply their patients and to communicate with referring medical providers. Financial terms of the Feb. 10 deal were not disclosed.