There were good, bad, and ugly deals in New England’s technology and life sciences sectors this past week. Yet there are more highlights and lowlights. You can judge under which of those three categories (good, bad, ugly) the following deals fall:
—Wade did some digging in the SEC database last Friday to report that Cambridge, MA-based industrial robotics firm Heartland Robotics, founded by MIT computer science guru and iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) cofounder Rod Brooks, raised $7 million in equity capital. Our intrepid senior correspondent also confirmed that Bezos Expeditions, which manages the personal investments of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, took part in the round.
—Cambridge-based Gloucester Pharmaceuticals reeled in $29 million in a Series D round of venture capital financing from previous backers and new investor Novo A/S, Luke reported. The money comes as the cancer drug developer prepares to make its case for approval of its first drug, romidepsin—which has been developed to treat a rare form of blood cancer called cutaneous T-cell lymphoma—to an FDA advisory committee at a meeting slated for next week.
—Cambridge blood replacement maker Biopure took another step into the grave last week, completing a bankruptcy auction that saw its business assets go to OPK Biotech for $4 million. We also learned from online business journal MassDevice that the owner of OPK is a Russian oligarch with a fortune in mining, retail, and other industries.
—Two Boston-area medtech startups, Daktari Diagnostics and BL Healthcare, offered hope for young companies by raising $2.5 million and $2.9 million, respectively. Daktari appears to be a stealthy Arlington, MA-based firm that is developing handheld devices that can count immune cells using microfluidics and electrochemical sensing technologies. BL Healthcare, of Foxboro, MA, makes systems for TV sets that enable patients to do videoconferences with clinicians, watch health videos on demand, and monitor their vital signs, among other things.
—Investors poured $8 million in private capital into Providence, RI-based NanoSteel, the firm said in an SEC filing. NanoSteel uses iron-based steel alloys to make overlays and spray coatings for customers in the mining, offshore oil drilling, and marine industries. The alloys are made of nano- and micro-scale particles that make the materials harder and less porous than traditional steel.
—Nanogen, a cash-strapped biotech firm based in Branford, CT, agreed to be acquired by San Diego-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND) in a transaction valued at $11 million. The deal gives Nanogen shareholders a 3-percent stake in Ligand. It’s probably not the exit most Nanogen shareholders were hoping for, but at least the firm’s science and drug programs will survive under Ligand’s ownership.
—On a happier note, Burlington, MA-based healthcare communications provider Silverlink Communications took in $5 million in new financing from previous backers Sigma Partners, HLM Venture Partners, and Kaiser Permanente Ventures. Wade profiled the company, whose services help health workers launch wellness campaigns for patients.
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