Oclaro Buys Mintera, Gazelle Gets $12M, Genzyme Buyout Rumors Swirl, & More Boston-Area Deals News

Xconomy Boston — 

Acquisitions were a big theme in the New England-area deal news this past week. We also saw several funding rounds and an intellectual property deal.

—Providence, RI-based Alektrona, a maker of smart-grid software and hardware, grabbed $250,000 in funding from the Slater Technology Fund, also of Providence. The money comes as part of a $510,000 seed funding round, which also included backing from NStar’s former chief information officer, Gene Zimon.

Cara Therapeutics, a developer of treatments for pain and inflammation, raised $15 million in a Series D funding led by Rho Ventures. Alta Biopharma, Ascent Biomedical Ventures, CT Innovations, Devon Park BioVentures, Healthcare Private Equity, Mitsubishi International, and MVM Life Science Partners also participated in the financing for Shelton, CT-based Cara, which has now raised a total of around $43 million.

—Boston-based Gazelle, a website that facilitates the selling and recycling of used electronics, raised $12 million in a Series C funding round led by Physic Ventures. The financing also included Gazelle’s existing investors, Venrock Associates and RockPort Capital Partners. Gazelle says it will put the money toward scaling its businesses to meet new customer demand.

—Acton, MA-based Mintera, an optical-switch maker, was acquired by Oclaro, a San Jose, CA-based optical communications and laser technology firm, for $12 million in cash upfront. The deal could total $32 million if Mintera brings in revenues of $70 million over the next year and a half. Its revenue for the most recent fiscal year was in the neighborhood of $20 million.

—Euthymics Bioscience, a Cambridge, MA-based startup working on depression treatments that lack the side effects of many existing drugs, said it pulled in the first tranche of its Series A funding round, led by Novartis Venture Funds and Venture Investors. The financing could total $24 million if Euthymics hits certain milestones with its drugs.

—Customer service software provider Interactions, of Franklin, MA, said it had nailed down a $6.3 million Series D round of funding, with backing from Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, North Hill Ventures, Sigma Partners, and Updata Partners.

Picis, a Wakefield, MA-based maker of Web-based hospital software, agreed to be acquired by Eden Prairie, MN-based Ingenix, a healthcare intelligence and analytics firm. Picis didn’t reveal the financial details of the acquisition, but said it will retain its presence in Wakefield, as well as its other sites throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Speculation swirled that drug giant Sanofi-Aventis was out to acquire Cambridge biotech Genzyme, which has faced shareholder scrutiny in the last year largely due to manufacturing woes at its Allston, MA, plant. Genzyme investors reacted energetically to the news on Friday, driving stock price up 15 percent to close at $62.52, and trading at five times the normal volume, Luke reported. Ryan asked Xconomy readers to chime in on how much they think Genzyme would be worth in a buyout.

—Vlingo, a Cambridge-based voice-to-text software developer, announced it had purchased several patents in an intellectual property deal with Intellectual Ventures, of Bellevue, WA. The startup was hit with a patent infringement lawsuit in 2008 from Burlington, MA-based speech software giant Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN), but Nuance would need access to the patents Vlingo purchased to continue shipping many of its products, Vlingo CEO Dave Grannan told me. His hope is that Nuance will drop the suit in exchange for a business settlement, where each company would gain access to the other’s patents.