Zogenix Raises Cash for Headaches, Sleepless in Somaxon, Dow Chemical Spins Out Pfēnex, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

Xconomy San Diego — 

From Adamis to Zogenix, we’ve got the A to Z in San Diego life sciences news. Here’s your chance to catch up now.

Zogenix said it has raised a total of $71 million for the anticipated launch in January of its needle-free, drug-and-device delivery system for migraine and cluster headaches. The San Diego life sciences company, which said it had raised $51 million three months ago, disclosed that it had raised an additional $20 million from Chicago Growth Partners.

Nexus Biosystems, a life sciences tools company based near San Diego in Poway, CA, announced plans to acquire Aurora Biotechnologies of Carlsbad, CA, for an undisclosed price. Both companies specialize in the storage and management of biological samples used to study genetic traits and human disease, among other things.

—The FDA’s rejection of an insomnia drug for the second time this year must be keeping some executives awake at night at San Diego’s Somaxon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SOMX)). The FDA says that Somaxon’s doxepin (Silenor) wasn’t effective enough to meet the agency’s standard for approval.

—Luke profiled Scott Forrest, the 32-year-old director of business and technology development (i.e. tech transfer) at The Scripps Research Institute. Since joining Scripps 10 months ago, Forrest says his goal is to do a better job of spinning out its renowned biomedical science into startup companies, as well as its potential drug candidates that might someday be commercialized.

—There’s a new biotech in town, Pfēnex, which was spun out by Dow Chemical with venture backing from Signet Healthcare Partners. The San Diego biotech specializes in developing a variety of protein-based drugs, vaccines, diagnostic reagents, and biosimilars using technology derived from a bacteria that secretes a fluorescent pigment.

Adamis Pharmaceuticals of Del Mar, CA, has agreed to a merger with San Diego’s La Jolla Pharmaceutical, which recently dropped efforts to get its shareholders to approve its liquidation plan. Under a reverse merger by the boards of both companies, La Jolla Pharmaceutical shareholders will get as much as a 30 percent ownership of the combined company.

—Luke described the work of Tony Manning to develop “bispecific” antibodies at Biogen-Idec, which is based in Cambridge, MA, and operates a San Diego research facility. Manning spearheads a group that is engineering a new class of antibodies to hit two disease targets on cells, not just one.