Amylin and Biogen Idec Make Board Changes, Inovio Catches Wave of Investor ‘Swine Flu’ Fervor, Ligand Buys Neurogen, & Other San Diego Life Sciences News

Xconomy San Diego — 

Fallout from two of the proxy battles we followed earlier this year has become more apparent on the boards at San Diego’s Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN) and Cambridge, MA-based Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB), which has operations in San Diego. We’ve got that and more life sciences news.

—Diabetes drug maker Amylin Pharmaceuticals said its board selected newly elected director and former Novartis CEO Paulo Costa as chairman, a move that was supported by dissident investor Eastbourne Capital Management. At Biogen Idec, longtime R&D president Cecil Pickett decided to retire from the company and to relinquish his board seat. He’s the second director to resign from Biogen Idec’s board in two months.

—After merging in June with VGX Pharmaceuticals of Blue Bell, PA, shares of San Diego’s Inovio Biomedical (AMEX: INO) have climbed in value. But in talking with Inovio CEO J. Joseph Kim, Luke reported that Inovio’s good fortune has less to do with the synergies of combining with VGX than with Inovio’s announcement about its vaccine for the H1N1 “swine flu.”

—Lately, a number of San Diego’s drug development companies are focused on reviving or repurposing older drugs, including Cadence Pharmaceuticals, Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, and Victory Pharmaceuticals. But Denise found that getting a head start with compounds that already passed regulatory muster doesn’t necessarily reduce the odds of failure.

—San Diego’s Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: LGND) has agreed to acquire Neurogen in a mostly stock deal valued at $11 million, resulting in a 3 percent ownership stake for Neurogen shareholders.

AltheaDx, a San Diego startup that provides services and technologies to streamline drug development, intends to raise $6 million in fresh venture capital, according to a recent regulatory filing. AltheaDx has raised almost $3.6 million so far.

San Diego-based Enterprise Partners Venture Capital has renewed its commitment to Complete Genomics of Mountain View, CA. The VC firm is participating in the company’s latest $45 million venture round, along with OVP Venture Partners of Kirkland, WA. Complete Genomics intends to use the proceeds to build its own proprietary genome sequencing machines, and plans to provide its services to researchers who send in their samples.