Raleigh-Durham Roundup: LabCorp, Alevo, Piedmont Pharma, & More

Xconomy Raleigh-Durham — 

Here are the headlines from the past week in North Carolina tech, biotech, and cleantech news.

LabCorp completed its $6.2 billion acquisition of Covance. Burlington, NC-based LabCorp (NYSE:LH), announced last November an agreement to acquire New Jersey-based Covance, a provider of outsourced services to the pharmaceutical industry. LabCorp, a laboratory testing and diagnostics company, says Covance will help it expand its capabilities doing work in clinical trials. The combined company is headquartered in Burlington. Covance becomes a LabCorp subsidiary, Covance Drug Development, headquartered in Princeton, NJ.

—Energy storage startup Alevo inked a deal to provide batteries that will back up the power grid. Switzerland-based Alevo, which last fall opened a manufacturing plant in Concord, NC, to produce these batteries, forged an agreement with Customized Energy Solutions to provide 200 megawatts of energy storage capacity for the wholesale energy market.

No financial terms of the deal were disclosed but Alevo says it represents the largest energy storage deployment in the country. For context, Greentech Media notes that the biggest grid operator has only about 110 megawatts of fast-acting energy storage systems. The deal isn’t the only thing that’s big. Each of Alevo’s batteries will be about the size of a shipping container.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) is seeking bids for new solar energy projects in North Carolina through a state program that gives large industrial customers and commercial customers a way to offset their energy consumption by supplying renewable energy.

Charlotte, NC-based Duke is seeking projects that are 2 megawatts or larger and are located in Duke’s North Carolina service territory. The utility is looking for up to 50 megawatts total in new solar energy projects. Projects would have the option to sell power to Duke for up to 15 years or negotiate for Duke to acquire the facilities. Duke, the nation’s largest electric utility, says it owns or purchases nearly 600 megawatts of solar capacity in North Carolina. The utility hopes that the new projects would be online by the end of 2015.

—The FDA accepted the new drug application for a chronic pain treatment developed by BioDelivery Sciences International (NASDAQ: BDSI), putting the Raleigh, NC, company in line for a $10 million milestone payment from partner Endo International (NASDAQ: ENDP). Endo licensed the technology from BDSI in 2012. The treatment administers the pain-killer buprenorphine (Belbuca) through BDSI’s drug-delivery technology, which employs a dissolvable film placed on the inside of the cheek. BDSI stands to gain another $50 million in milestones if the FDA approves the drug.

—Piedmont Animal Health received FDA approval for its flea medication for dogs. The drug, imidacloprid (advantus), is an insecticide that is toxic to insects but safe for dogs. Piedmont’s product is a soft, chewable, and flavored medication that employs the company’s patented technology for making chewable drugs. Greensboro, NC-based Piedmont Animal Health is part of venture capital-backed Piedmont Pharmaceuticals.

—In other FDA approval news, the VenaSeal closure system for varicose veins received a regulatory nod. The medical device now belongs to Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) but it was originally developed by Morrisville, NC, company Sapheon. Covidien acquired Sapheon last August, a deal that came at the same time Medtronic was in the process of acquiring Covidien. VenaSeal works by sealing varicose veins with an adhesive and is an alternative to procedures that cauterize or cut the veins.