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IBM Buys Unica, A123 Spinout Raises $10M, Zynga Acquires Conduit, & More Boston-Area Deals News

Xconomy Boston — 

Acquisition news from big IT, Web, and biotech names, plus funding announcements for newer tech and life sciences companies, kept us buzzing with deals news in New England this week.

—Watertown, MA-based Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, a startup developing gene-silencing drugs, raised $25 million in Series B funding. New investor Domain Associates led the round, which also included Abingworth, Oxford Bioscience Partners, and Skyline Ventures.

Mercator Therapeutics, a Wellesley, MA-based stealthy biotech startup, raised $2 million in seed funding to put toward licensing its technology and conducting early research in cancer.

—Framingham, MA-based Boston Heart Lab raised $10 million in an offering of equity- and rights-based securities. The startup makes lab tests for measuring patient cholesterol and programs for tracking cardiovascular health.

—Boston TechStars alum Marginize brought in $650,000 in its first round of venture funding. The startup is working on technology that displays the social media buzz surrounding the website you’re viewing. The investors in the financing were Atlas Venture, Longworth Venture Partners, eonBusiness, and SOS Ventures on the venture capital side. Marginize also attracted backing from angel investors David Cohen, Dharmesh Shah, Joe Caruso, Jean Hammond, Bill Warner, Will Herman, and Michael Mark.

—Healthcare payment software maker TransEngen, of Norwalk, CT, pulled in $2.5 million in an equity financing. The company’s website lists Dallas, TX-based Carlson Capital as a board member.

—Waltham, MA-based marketing analytics firm Unica will be acquired by IBM for $480 million in cash, in a deal set to close in the fourth quarter of this year. Big Blue is rolling Unica’s (NASDAQ: UNCA) 500 employees into its Software Solutions Group and will move them into its IBM Mass Lab. The computer giant has scooped up other companies in the marketing, e-commerce, and fulfillment spaces, like AT&T’s Sterling Commerce and Coremetrics.

—Stealthy social games startup Ayeah Games raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding, from angel investors and micro VC firms like John Landry of Lead Dog Ventures and Janpieter Scheerder of Eureeka Ventures. Ayeah was started by Black Duck Software founder Doug Levin and is out to create a new breed of social games that allow players to track events of their interest online, and react to them via interactions with other online players.

—Lycos, the Waltham, MA, company that offered some of the most trafficked online search engine and content products during the Internet boom, was bought by Indian digital marketing company Ybrant Digital for $36 million. Ybrant purchased Lycos from Korea-based Daum Communications, which says it reorganized and turned Lycos profitable in 2009 following its struggles that resulted from the dot-com crash.

—24M Technologies, the spinoff of Watertown-based lithium-ion battery maker A123Systems, attracted $10 million in Series A money from Charles River Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners. Cambridge-based 24M is developing energy storage systems that involve lithium-ion and flow battery technologies, and is collaborating with MIT and Rutgers University on a project that nabbed $6 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s advanced research arm, ARPA-E.

Next Step Living, a Boston-based green tech company, said it raised $2.6 million in the first close of its Series B round of funding. The financing for Next Step, which audits and retrofits homes for greater energy efficiency, was led by John McQuillan, president and CEO of environmental consulting firm Triumvirate Environmental, and included funding from Black Coral Capital and the Clean Energy Venture Group.

Shape Up The Nation, a Providence, RI-based health IT company, announced it had brought in $5 million in Series A funding. The startup uses social networking to help employees at self-insured companies achieve health and wellness goals. Shape Up The Nation’s management, as well as Cue Ball Capital and Excel Venture Management, participated in the financing.

—San Francisco-based Zynga, the company behind online social games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, is moving into the Boston area with the acquisition of Cambridge startup Conduit Labs. The highly buzzed-about deal will transform Conduit, which makes music-based social games, into Zynga Boston. Financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.