San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Aragon, Illumina, CareFusion, & More

Xconomy San Diego — 

We saw some sizable deals in the life sciences domain over the past week, including an interesting partnership that Domain Associates formed with Moscow-based Rusnano.

—The venture capital firm Domain Associates and Moscow-based Rusnano, the government-owned Russian Corporation of nanotechnologies, agreed to jointly invest $760 million on both sides of the globe. Under the deal, Rusnano will match mostly late-stage investments that Domain and its venture partners invest in Domain’s portfolio of U.S. life sciences startups. The partners also agreed to jointly establish a drug and medical device manufacturing facility in Russia, where technology licensed from the Domain-backed companies would be produced for the Russian market. Domain has offices in Princeton, NJ, and San Diego.

—San Diego’s Aragon Pharmaceuticals raised $42m in a Series C financing to advance its small molecule drug candidates that target hormone-driven cancers, including a therapy for castration-resistant prostate cancer. Aragon, founded in 2009, will use the proceeds to advance cancer drugs capable of blocking and even degrading the androgen receptor (AR) and other sex hormone receptors.

—San Diego biotech pioneer Ted Greene was officially inducted as the 10th member of the Connect Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. The nonprofit entrepreneurship group hailed Greene as the founding CEO of Hybritech, which developed a monoclonal antibody assay system that led to a new generation of immunodiagnostics, and for his role in starting diabetes drug developer Amylin Pharmaceuticals and other life sciences companies.

—In a provocative BioBeat column, Luke argued that if Roche were successful in its hostile bid to acquire San Diego-based Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN), “it would be bad for Illumina shareholders, bad for the genetic tools industry, bad for science, bad for the San Diego innovation community, and bad for the personalized medicine movement.” About 90 percent of the world’s DNA sequencing output is now done on Illumina machines, according to a recent regulatory filing.

—San Diego-based CareFusion (NYSE: CFN) said it was acquiring Seattle’s Phacts, a consulting company that helps hospital pharmacies improve inventory management and reduce their costs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. CareFusion said adding the Phacts group to its line of Pyxis inventory control equipment would help hospitals better manage their drug inventory controls and related business processes.

—San Diego’s Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN) said it plans to raise more than $200 million through a public offering of 13 million shares of its common stock. Amylin intends to use proceeds of the offering, which is expected to close by March 13, for expenses related to commericializing its extended-release exenatide (Bydureon) drug for diabetes, and for general corporate purposes.

—San Diego-based Lpath (OTCBB: LPTN), which specializes in lipidomics-based antibody therapeutics, said it has arranged to raise more than $9 million from various investors. Lpath sold more than 12 million shares, priced at 75 cents each; with each investor also receiving warrants to purchase additional shares at $1.10 over the next five years.

Histogen, the San Diego regenerative medicine startup, and Suneva Medical, a privately held aesthetics company based in San Diego, said they had signed a licensing agreement. Suneva acquired exclusive U.S. licensing rights to Histogen’s ReGenica branded line of physician-dispensed aesthetics and skin-care products. Suneva will make and market the products in the U.S. Financial terms were not disclosed.