Boston-Area Business, Life Sciences, and Technology News Briefs


Kinvey Closes $2M for Mobile Apps Backend

Kinvey, a mobile software startup (originally from Texas) that recently graduated from the TechStars Boston accelerator program, said today it has completed a $2 million seed financing round that was led by Atlas Venture. Avalon Ventures also participated in the round, along with Boston-area angel investors including Chris Lynch, Mike Baker, Jennifer Lum, Ty Danco, and Joe Caruso, according to BostInnovation. The idea behind Kinvey is to provide an easy cloud-based backend for mobile app developers. At TechStars’ demo day in June, Kinvey founder and CEO Sravish Sridhar joked that he was putting the “BaaS” (backend as a service) in “Badass.” Sridhar has a flair for the dramatic: last month he and chief technology officer Morgan Bickle were among the unfortunate Boston subway riders stuck underground for two hours during a morning commute. (Welcome to Boston, gentlemen.)


Rue La La Opens San Francisco Deals Site

Boston-based Rue La La, the private sale and shopping site, said today it has opened a local deals site in San Francisco called Rue San Francisco. It’s part of a broader effort, called Rue Local, that has rolled out local deals sites for Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and (earlier this summer) Washington DC, Los Angeles, and New York City; Miami and Chicago sites are slated to follow later this month. Rue La La started in 2008 as part of Retail Convergence, led by CEO Ben Fischman. In late 2009, Retail Convergence was acquired by GSI Commerce. Then in March 2011, eBay agreed to buy GSI Commerce and spin out Rue La La (and another GSI division) as a separate company, with eBay retaining a 30 percent stake in the company.

M/A-COM Seeks $230M IPO

Lowell, MA-based M/A-COM Technology Solutions indicated in an SEC filing that it seeks to raise $230 million through an initial public offering. The company, which makes wireless chips, is owned by the semiconductor-focused private equity fund GaAs Labs, whose owner John Ocampo bought the firm for around $90 million in 2009. Lead underwriters for the deal are Barclays Capital, J.P. Morgan, and Jefferies.

Acceleron Gets $25 Million in Partnership Deal With Celgene

Cambridge, MA-based Acceleron Pharma is broadening its anemia research partnership with Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG), the Summit, NJ-based biotech giant, according to a press release. The companies, which have been collaborating since 2008, have formed a new joint development and commercialization deal for ACE-536, a compound that treats anemia. Celgene will make an upfront payment of $25 million to to Acceleron, which will also be eligible to receive up to $217 million in milestone payments and double-digit royalties should the product make it to market.


Knome Nabs $5M

A Cambridge, MA-based personal genomics company has raised $5 million from one investor in a round that could eventually total $20 million, according to a regulatory filing. Launched in 2007 by the famed Harvard geneticist George Church, Knome offers wealthy consumers the chance to have their entire genomes sequenced and analyzed by the company’s scientists. But as prices for such services have plummeted over the last few years, the once-profitable company has struggled to get back in the black.

Ambient Moves to Nasdaq

Newton, MA-based Ambient (OTC: ABTGD), a maker of technology for smart grid connectivity and communications, expects to start trading tomorrow on the Nasdaq market under the ticker symbol “AMBT,” the company announced today. It will continue to trade today under its current symbol on the OTC Bulletin Board.

Beacon Endoscopic Raises $5M for Diagnostics

Newton, MA-based Beacon Endoscopic, a medical device startup, said yesterday it has closed $5 million in Series B financing from MVM Life Science Partners, based in London and Boston. The company also said it has received new capital from existing angel investors. Beacon has developed a fine needle aspiration system for endoscopic ultrasound and endoscopic bronchial ultrasound; the system has FDA clearance for endoscopic ultrasound use and is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of this year. Beacon Endoscopic started in late 2008 and is led by CEO Peter Rogal and co-founders Brian Tinkham and Christopher Thompson.


Pathogenetix Nabs $4M

Pathogenetix, a Woburn, MA-based company formerly named U.S. Genomics, has raised $4 million of an equity offering that could total $9.5 million, an SEC filing shows. Last November, the firm, which develops biodefense and diagnostic technologies, raised $900,000 of a debt-based round and $1.3 million in an equity financing—the latter of which was bumped up to $1.5 million a month later, according to SEC documents.

Merck Submits Ariad Drug to EU

Cambridge, MA-based Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARIA) said today that its partner, Merck (NYSE: MRK) has submitted an application to the European Union for clearance to start selling ridaforolimus as a new treatment for sarcomas. Merck plans to submit its application for FDA approval soon, Ariad said. Data on a pivotal clinical trial for the new drug was presented in June at the American Society of Clinical Oncology. If approved by regulators, the sarcoma treatment will be Ariad’s first to reach the market.


Carbonite Proposes IPO Terms

Boston-based Carbonite, the online data backup firm, said yesterday in a regulatory filing that it expects to offer 6.25 million shares, plus 937,500 additional shares for underwriters (as an option), at $15 to $17 per share in its planned IPO. That bumps its maximum offering price to $122.2 million, up from the $100 million first stated in May. The company expects its shares to trade on the Nasdaq market under the symbol CARB.


Imprivata Signs On Scottish Healthcare System

Lexington, MA-based Imprivata, a security tech company focused on health IT applications, said today it has landed a multimillion-dollar deal with NHS Scotland to provide secure access technology to that country’s healthcare workers. No further financial details were given in the release, but another report puts the price at 1.8 million pounds (just under U.S. $3 million) over five years. The product will be delivered in partnership with Northgate Managed Services, an IT services firm. Imprivata, which is backed by a number of Boston venture firms, has developed a system that lets clinicians and other users sign on to their computer once, instead of needing multiple passwords for different applications, to do things like access health records. Xconomy first wrote about Imprivata’s single sign-on technology in 2007.

Bydureon Sent Back to FDA

San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN), Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY), and Waltham, MA-based Alkermes (NASDAQ: ALKS) said today that they have re-submitted an application to the FDA, for clearance to start marketing exenatide once-weekly (Bydureon) as a new treatment for diabetes in the U.S. The agency turned down an earlier application, asking the companies to produce more data showing the drug doesn’t have an effect on abnormal heart rhythms known as the QT interval. The new application includes such a study, which the companies reported on earlier this month. The FDA will likely have six months to complete its review of the application, the companies said. If approved, analysts expect the drug could generate billions in annual U.S. sales.


BSX Pumps $150M Into China Presence

Natick, MA-based medical device firm Boston Scientific (NASDAQ: BSX) announced today that it will invest $150 million over five years to establish a manufacturing facility in China. Boston Scientific said that it will use the site as a medical device training facility, and that it will also invest in R&D activites in China and increase its employee base in the country from 200 to 1,200. The company said it expects these moves to push its revenues in China to more than $500 million at the end of 2016.


Chargify Gets Cuban Investment

Chargify, the recurring billing software from the Needham, MA-based Grashopper Group, said yesterday on its blog that it had inked an investment from Mark Cuban, the owner of 2011 NBA champions the Dallas Mavericks. Grasshopper Group formed in 2009 as a spinout of Grasshopper—a developer of virtual phone systems for startups—to create products such as Chargify and Spreadable, a word-of-mouth marketing application that Grasshopper Group shut down this year. Grasshopper also announced yesterday in a separate blog post that it will be dialing down the business arm for spinning out new products, and will instead focus on its original phone technology.


GlassHouse Gets $6M from Citrix, Greenspring

Framingham, MA-based GlassHouse Technologies, which has applied to trade publicly on the Nasdaq market under the symbol “GLAS,” has taken in another $6 million in Series F funding, according to an SEC filing. Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS) of Fort Lauderdale, FL and Santa Clara, CA, provided $5 million of the round, and venture capital firm Greenspring Associates put in $1 million, according to the document. Citrix also pumped $5 million of Series F funding into GlassHouse, an IT consulting firm, earlier this year.

Biogen Wins European Approval for MS Drug

Weston, MA-based Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIBannounced today that it has received conditional approval from the European Commission to market the long-acting version of fampridine (Fampyra) to adult patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have walking disability. The drug was developed and commercialized in the United States by Hawthorne, NY-based Acorda Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ACOR). As part of the approval, the agency has asked Biogen to perform a study to assess the drug’s benefits beyond improving walking speed—a request that’s consistent with post-marketing research plans already in place, the company says.


Oracle Acquires Ksplice

Redwood Shores, CA-based database giant Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) said today that it has bought Cambridge, MA-based Ksplice, a maker of technology for updating Linux. The acquisition is designed to strengthen Linux by enabling users to apply security updates, diagnostics patches, and critical bug fixes without rebooting the product, according to Oracle. Ksplice has been a success in Boston-area business competitions, winning the MIT $100k prize in 2009 and winning another $100k last year from MassChallenge.


Highland Capital Announces 10 Startup Teams

Highland Capital Partners has announced the 10 college startup teams participating in its 10-week [email protected] mentorship program in Cambridge, MA, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The venture firm provides coaching, networking, office space, and a $15,000 stipend; the teams don’t give up any equity stake and are under no obligation to Highland afterwards, the firm says. The teams based in Cambridge are: additup (Boston College), ByteLight (Boston University), Tivli (Harvard University and University of Michigan), and Type-U (Babson College). The Bay Area teams are: 27Bards (Stanford University), Adpop (Stanford), Clinkle (Stanford), Imprint Energy (UC Berkeley), (University of Pennsylvania), and Waddle (Northwestern University).

Acquia Scores $15M for Social Publishing

Woburn, MA-based Acquia, a social publishing software firm, has raised a $15 million Series D round from Tenaya Capital, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Sigma Partners, according to a report in All Things D. Acquia started in 2007 and, among other things, helps organizations build community sites using Drupal, an open-source content management system. Its customers include Twitter, Al Jazeera, Mercedes-Benz, Stanford University, and the U.S. Department of Defense. The company, which is led by CEO Tom Erickson, has raised about $38.5 million to date, according to the report.


Inotek Snags $9.3M

Inotek Pharmaceuticals of Lexington, MA, has bumped its latest financing up to $23.6 million, with nearly $10 million in new funding, according to an SEC filing. The drug developer raised $14.3 million last summer from investors such as Devon Park Bioventures, Care Capital, Rho Ventures, MedImmune Ventures, and Bio*One Capital.