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Biotech Survival Index: Cash Woes Creeping Up on San Diego Life Sciences Companies

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Genoptix Medical (NASDAQ: GXDX). This Carlsbad, CA-based diagnostics company reported a $15.4 million profit in the third quarter, so it’s not bleeding red. It raised its sales forecast for 2008 to $112 million, up from a range of $105 million to $108 million.

Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS). The Carlsbad, CA-based developer of antisense drug technology struck it rich in January through a partnership with Cambridge, MA-based Genzyme to co-develop the cholesterol drug mipomersen. That deal brought in $350 million upfront, and could generate much more if the drug succeeds in clinical trials. Isis ended September with a $512 million cushion in the bank, enough to last five years, the company says.

Anadys Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ANDS). The numbers say a lot for this San Diego developer of drugs for hepatitis C. It had $34.4 million in cash and investments at the end of September, and burned through $22 million of its cash reserves in the first nine months.

Optimer Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OPTR). This San Diego company has had some good fortune. Its drug for C. Difficile, a nasty bacterial infection that’s transmitted in hospitals, was found to be about equal to a standard antibiotic at curing patients, and was significantly better at reducing recurrence rates. It had $47.6 million in cash at the end of September, combined with a relatively narrow $6.5 million net loss.

Santarus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SNTS). This San Diego maker of omeprazole sodium bicarbonate (Zegerid) for heartburn says its revenues are climbing to an anticipated $125 million in 2008, the high end of its previous forecast of $115 million to $125 million. It had $34.4 million in cash at the end of September, and a $4 million net loss.

Cypress Bioscience (NASDAQ: CYPB). The San Diego developer of milnacipran for fibromyalgia has been held up by a delay at the FDA. This drug is important since it would be Cypress sole marketed product, but it can wait a while if need be. The company had $149.8 million in cash and investments at the end of October, and a $4.1 million net loss.

Sequenom (NASDAQ: SQNM). This San Diego maker of a noninvasive prenatal test for Down syndrome has been on a roller coaster on Wall Street this fall since it said the test was 100 percent accurate in a trial of 400 pregnant women who had results verified with a more invasive amniocentesis or CVS procedure. The company had the good fortune to raise $92 million in July, before the blowup of Lehman Brothers and other banks led to a freeze in the credit markets. It had $120.7 million in cash and investments at the end of September, and a $10.4 million net loss.

Acadia Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ACAD). This San Diego company, a developer of neurological drugs, has already done some restructuring to conserve cash. It had $72.7 million in cash and investments at the end of September, and burned through $54 million of cash reserves in the first nine months of the year. … Next Page »

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