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Updated: 1 hour 41 min ago

Ideaya and Bicycle Therapeutics IPOs Raise $110M for Cancer Drug R&D

4 hours 19 min ago

Ideaya Biosciences and Bicycle Therapeutics priced their IPOs late Wednesday, raising a combined $110 million to continue clinical trials of their respective experimental cancer drugs.

South San Francisco-based Ideaya raised $50 million. The company priced its offering of 5 million shares at $10 apiece, well below the targeted price range of $13 to $15 per share. Those shares are expected to begin trading Thursday on the Nasdaq under the stock symbol “IDYA.”

Lead Ideaya drug IDE196 was originally developed by Novartis (NYSE: NVS). The small molecule drug blocks protein kinase C, a family of proteins associated with cancer. The drug... Read more »

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Cala Health Secures $50M to Launch Anti-Tremor Wrist Device

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 16:40

Cala Health announced this week it raised $50 million in a Series C financing that will fund the market introduction of its wristwatch-like device that delivers nerve stimulation as a remedy for tremors of the hands.

New investors Novartis, Baird Capital, LifeSci Venture Partners and TriVentures participated in the fundraising round, and were joined by all of the company’s previous investors, including Lux Capital, Lightstone Ventures, Action Potential Venture Capital, dRx Capital, GV—the investment arm of Google parent company Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG)—and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, the venture capital arm of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ). The... Read more »

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WI Watchlist: Montage, LÜM, WEDC, Titan Spine, Polco, Swallow & More

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 11:09

A medical device for patients with swallowing disorders gets new life. A music streaming app gets an influx of cash. The state’s economic development agency faces more criticism for its practices. Startups in recruiting tech, medtech, and civic tech strike merger and acquisition deals. Read on for more details about these stories and other recent Wisconsin innovation news.

—In an unusually structured deal, the Idea Fund of La Crosse, an early-stage investment firm located in western Wisconsin, said it paid $500,000 to acquire the rights to the SwallowStrong device developed by Madison-based Swallow Solutions. The device, designed to help... Read more »

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Former Arsanis CEO René Russo Tapped to Lead Akrevia Therapeutics

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 08:11

René Russo has been appointed CEO of Akrevia Therapeutics. She is also joining the Cambridge, MA, company’s board of directors. Russo was most recently CEO of Arsanis (NASDAQ: ASNS), a biotech that combined operations with X4 Pharmaceuticals in a reverse merger earlier this year. Launched last year with $30 million in financing, Akrevia is developing cancer immunotherapies intended to hit tumors in a more targeted way.

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Celsius Therapeutics Adds Greg Ryslik and Michael Boretti to C-Suite

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 08:05

Greg Ryslik has been appointed chief data officer of Celsius Therapeutics. He joins the Cambridge, MA-based company from Mindstrong Health, where he was vice president of data science. His experience also includes posts at Faraday Future and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA). In other moves, Celsius appointed former Epizyme (NASDAQ: EPZM) vice president of business development Michael Boretti to serve as chief business officer. Celsius raised $65 million last year to support its research developing drugs based on single-cell genomics.

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With $120M, AlloVir Faces Big Test of Cell Therapy to Fight Infection

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00

In healthy people, viruses are kept in check by the immune system. But for immunocompromised patients, such as those undergoing transplant procedures, a viral infection is potentially deadly. AlloVir is developing a cell therapy intended to control infections while a patient’s immune system recovers.

Houston-based AlloVir is preparing its lead candidate for late-stage testing and on Wednesday announced $120 million in financing for the research. Fidelity Management and Research Company led the Series B investment round.

When patients receiving a bone marrow transplant to treat a blood disorder or a primary immunodeficiency develop an infection, they have to take antiviral medications.... Read more »

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California Life Sciences Fueled by Education, Established Companies

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 18:47

New medicines, devices, and diagnostics produced by the life sciences community in California are giving clinicians better tools to fight disease and improve quality of life for patients around the world. Emerging technologies, such as stem cell and gene therapies, are beginning to make their mark.

According to the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA)’s latest California Life Sciences Industry Report, California is home to more than 3,400 life sciences companies. Some of these discover new therapies, while others perform supportive tasks such as conducting preclinical testing or operating clinical trials.

In 2017, these companies directly employed more than 311,000 Californians,... Read more »

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Merck Preempts Peloton Therapeutics IPO With $1B Acquisition Deal

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 06:52

Merck has reached a deal to acquire Peloton Therapeutics, and its Phase 3-ready kidney cancer drug, for $1.05 billion.

Under the agreement announced Tuesday, Merck (NYSE: MRK) will pay the sum in cash up front. If Peloton’s drug candidates reach the market and hit sales targets, shareholders of privately held Pelton could gain up to $1.15 billion in milestone payments.

The acquisition agreement comes one day before Dallas-based Peloton was expected to go public. Under IPO terms the company set last week, Peloton could have raised as much as $183 million to fund Phase 3 tests of its lead... Read more »

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Voyager’s CSO Dinah Sah to Retire, Omar Khwaja Expands Role

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 16:15

Dinah Sah is retiring from her position as chief scientific officer of Voyager Therapeutics (NASDAQ: VYGR). In her place, the Cambridge, MA-based gene therapy developer said that Chief Medical Officer Omar Khwaja will take on an expanded role as chief medical officer and head of research and development. The changes will happen June 28, but Sah will continue to serve as a consultant to the company and she will join its scientific advisory board. Voyager is developing gene therapies for neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

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Animal Bio Picks Tufts’ Rentko for Chief Veterinary Medical Officer

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 15:35

Ginny Rentko has been appointed chief veterinary medical officer of Animal Biosciences, a subsidiary of Boston-based Life Biosciences. Rentko comes to Animal Bio from Tufts University, where she was medical director of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Animal Bio is developing therapeutics and supplements intended to help pets live longer.

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Reneo Pharma Launches with $50M to Target Energy-Depleting Diseases

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 15:16

Yet another new biotech company has been founded in San Diego by serial entrepreneur Mike Grey and other alumni of rare disease startup Lumena Pharmaceuticals.

Reneo Pharmaceuticals, which has offices in San Diego and in the UK, announced Monday it has raised $50 million to advance a compound it is testing as a therapy for diseases that hamper the performance of mitochondria—the parts of our cells that turn what we eat into energy, among other life-sustaining tasks.

Grey, who was president and CEO of Lumuna from 2011 through its 2014 acquisition by Irish drugmaker Shire (now part of Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical... Read more »

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MedCo Touts New Data for Long-Lasting Heart Drug as Reckoning Looms

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 05:56

The Medicines Co. and partner Alnylam Pharmaceuticals have presented new evidence supporting the long-term use of their RNA-based cholesterol lowering therapy inclisiran, which is meant to be a longer lasting alternative to a new crop of heart drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors.

At a medical meeting in Miami, Medicines Co. (NASDAQ: MDCO) reported that 290 patients on inclisiran in a long-term open-label study, ORION-3, saw their LDL-C or “bad” cholesterol levels lowered by an average of 51.4 percent with up to three years of follow-up.

Patients in the study have been on inclisiran for up to three years; no major safety... Read more »

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Nomination Deadline Extended for Xconomy Awards Boston

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 05:03

We’ve received a lot of great nominations for this year’s Xconomy Awards Boston, but we’ve had several people ask for more time to get their nominations in.

So we are extending the deadline until Friday, May 24 at 5pm eastern.

This will be the final deadline—please get your nominations in soon for the top people, companies and organizations in Boston life science and healthtech!

We will announce the finalists in July and you’ll find out who the winners are at the Awards Gala in Boston on Sept 12.

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Eiger Bio’s Apelian Gives Notice, Takes CEO Job at Private Biotech

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 14:21

David Apelian, chief operating officer and executive medical officer at Eiger BioPharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: EIGR) for the past 17 months, is stepping down. The Palo Alto, CA, drug developer said Friday that Apelian accepted an offer to become CEO of an unnamed private biotech company. Apelian, whose last day will be June 14, will remain on the Eiger board of directors. The company added that it plans to announce Apelian’s successor “in the near future.” Eiger’s lead drug candidate, lonafarnib, is in late-stage testing as a treatment for hepatitis delta virus infection.

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San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: MedCrypt, LunaDNA, Dynacure & More

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 14:17

Let’s catch up with the latest life sciences news in San Diego.

— Cybersecurity company MedCrypt, which makes software to protect medical devices, raised a $5.3 million Series A funding round.

The company says it will use the new funds to hire new salespeople and engineers and further develop its technology, which medical devices vendors use to secure data traveling between or stored on devices. It also offers real-time monitoring and alerts about potential security threats.

“Patient data privacy has long been a concern, but the healthcare industry is just beginning to address patient safety risks presented by internet-connected healthcare technology,”... Read more »

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Bio Roundup: Generic Drugs Graft, ASCO Ahead, ElevateBio Rises & More

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 03:33

Generic drugs are supposed to give consumers more choices and a counterweight to more costly branded medications. During his tenure as FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb often spoke about generics as a market force that could help tame climbing drug prices. But such tools only work when companies play fair.

A lawsuit is now claiming that many top generic drug makers routinely conspired to avoid competition. In a more than 500-page complaint filed in federal court in Connecticut, 44 states allege that 18 generic drug companies divvied up the market so each one had a “fair share,” and then agreed to keep... Read more »

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ASCO Abstracts: Breast Cancer, Precision Treatments in the Spotlight

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 11:09

The world’s biggest annual cancer conference is just around the corner. Data presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting each year can change medical practice and make or break companies whose drugs are under the microscope. That’s what makes even the “abstracts,” or snippets of data revealed a few weeks before the meeting, so noteworthy.

This year’s ASCO abstracts were posted online Wednesday, setting off an annual information frenzy. To provide context to the chaos, Xconomy has rounded up noteworthy data in two areas: advances in breast cancer treatment and drugs that target genetic subsets of various cancers.... Read more »

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BioClarity, Maker of “Clean, Green” Skincare Products, Raises $13M

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 10:25

BioClarity, which sells plant-based skincare products to online shoppers, announced Wednesday that it has raised a $13 million investment round.

The San Diego-based company is part of Adigica Health, an e-commerce company founded in 2016 to develop and market direct-to-consumer healthcare products.

Prolog Ventures led the round with a $6 million investment; BioClarity said earlier investors, which it didn’t name, also participated. Prolog, which has offices in St. Louis, MO, and Newark, NJ, backs health and wellness startups.

The skincare startup says it will use the money for marketing and product development.

BioClarity markets its skincare line as “clean” and “green”—the... Read more »

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ViaCyte, Fate & More: Xconomy Awards San Diego Big Idea Finalists

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 08:00

The finalists in the Big Idea category of the Xconomy Awards San Diego are pursuing ambitious goals in pursuit of better ways of improving health. Their approaches range, from a new way to deliver insulin to patients with Type 1 diabetes to an innovative method to detect brain trauma that could reduce the need for medical imaging. Here are brief profiles of the finalists.

This is the last in a series of articles about the finalists for the Xconomy Awards San Diego. We’ve written about the CEO, Commitment to Diversity, Innovation at the Intersection, Digital Trailblazer,... Read more »

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Pulmatrix CEO Robert Clarke Steps Down, Ted Raad Appointed Successor

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 07:35

Robert Clarke, the chief executive who led Pulmatrix to the public markets via a reverse merger in 2015, has stepped down from the company and its board of directors. The Lexington, MA-based company gave no reason for the departure of Clarke, who was promoted from chief scientific officer to CEO in 2012. But Pulmatrix (NASDAQ: PULM) said he will continue as an advisor to the company through Aug. 14. To take his place, the company appointed chief business officer Ted Raad to serve as CEO and board member. Pulmatrix develops inhaled therapies to treat lung disorders.

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