Anadys Hep C Drug Shows Promise, Synthetic Genomics Recruits Illumina Exec, ProActa Gets Funds, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

Xconomy San Diego — 

There was a smorgasbord of announcements in the last week. Get your fill here.

Anadys Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ANDS) said preliminary findings from a mid-stage trial in hepatitis C patients showed that a drug cocktail consisting of its experimental drug ANA598, interferon, and ribavirin was about as effective after 12 weeks as interferon and ribavirin alone.

Ocera Therapeutics CEO Laurent Fischer tells Luke that the San Diego biotech should be more attractive to investors now that an FDA advisory panel has recommended approval of a rival drug from Salix Pharmaceuticals of North Carolina. The two companies are developing drugs for brain damage caused by liver failure.

—National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told Bruce that cancer and certain types of mental illness are diseases that appear ripe for research breakthroughs. He was in San Diego last week for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

—A new organization, the San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange, provides information, advice and support to entrepreneurs at early-stage companies, particularly those without VC backing.

Cooley Godward Kronish’s Venture Financing Report for the fourth quarter of 2009 concludes that while valuations remain below their historical levels, the overall trend looks promising.

—Biofuels developer Synthetic Genomics recruited a top executive from San Diego-based tools company Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) as its chief operating officer.

ProActa, which is developing an anti-cancer drug, raised $1.1 million in debt and securities, according to a recent regulatory filing.

SG Biofuels, which is a developing Jatropha as a low-cost, sustainable source of oil, announced the launch of JMax 100, a high-yield proprietary cultivar of Jatropha optimized for growing conditions in Guatemala.