Adventrx Pharmaceuticals Set Back by FDA, La Jolla Pharmaceutical Can’t Cure Shareholder Apathy, Regulus Signs Another Deal With Glaxo, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

Xconomy San Diego — 

There was a flurry of San Diego life sciences news over the past week, but we’ve got it all sorted for you here.

—Politicians sometimes complain about voter apathy, but consider the plight of San Diego’s La Jolla Pharmaceutical. The biotech, which failed to develop a drug for lupus, has been unable to muster enough shareholder votes to put itself out of business—or to approve a proposed merger with Adamis Pharmaceuticals (OTCBB: ADMP). In a statement this week, La Jolla Pharmaceutical says only 12 percent of its shareholders returned their proxy cards last week—falling far short of the quorum needed to constitute a valid vote.

—San Diego’s Adventrx Pharmaceuticals (NYSE Amex: ANX) says the FDA wants more data from stability testing of its new formulation of vinorelbine, a chemotherapy drug used to treat a variety of cancers, including non-small-cell lung cancer.

Optimer Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OPTR), a San Diego biotech developing an antibiotic for a dangerous hospital infection, raised $51.5 million in a secondary stock offering.

—San Diego’s Novalar was in the news twice in the past week. The San Diego-based biotech struck a deal that gives Sanofi-Aventis exclusive rights to market Novalar’s vasodilator drug phentolamine mesylate (OraVerse) in Germany.

Novalar was also ordered by the FDA to stop using a misleading patient brochure in its marketing of the drug phentolamine mesylate. Novalar CEO Donna Janson says the FDA’s comments are specific to a promotional brochure that no longer in use.

—Avalon Ventures partner and aFraxis CEO Jay Lichter explained how the early stage biotech saved millions by working with Torrey Pines Investment, a San Diego life sciences investment firm that owns a full-service contract research organization near Moscow. AFraxis is developing a drug therapy for treating Fragile X, a genetic defect that causes autism and related disabilities.

—GlaxoSmithKline has pulled out its checkbook a second time for Regulus, the Carlsbad, CA-based spinoff of nearby Isis Pharmaceuticals and Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Regulus says Glaxo could pay as much as $150 million in their second collaboration, which is aimed at developing a microRNA drug for hepatitis C.

Several life sciences startups in the San Diego area have received funding in recent weeks. Auspex Pharmaceuticals raised $3 million, Aethlon Medical raised $600,000, and Tocagen got $3 million.

—What are the organizations in San Diego that are supporting innovation in biotech and medical devices? What are the corporate venture funds that invest in biomedical startups? Xconomy has the answers ready for you in the X Lists, a new resource where we list the resources available in San Diego according to the stages in a startup’s development: Start, Fund, Network, Work & Grow, and Analyze.