SD Life Sciences Roundup: Amylin, Illumina, AstraZeneca Acquires Ardea, & More

Xconomy San Diego — 

Some big changes are underway in San Diego, with AstraZeneca’s big buyout of Ardea Biosciences and Illumina’s ambitious bid to develop an app store. There’s big biology and big data happening too.

Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN), the San Diego maker of DNA sequencing instruments, unveiled its plan to create Basespace Apps, an open platform for genomic software developers to make apps that can help scientists slice and dice DNA data. The strategy is to enhance the value of Illumina’s MiSeq benchtop DNA sequencing instrument in the same way the iPhone benefits from independently developed apps.

—-AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN), the UK’s second-largest pharmaceutical firm, agreed to acquire San Diego’s Ardea Biosciences (NASDAQ: RDEA) for $32 a share, which represents a total value of approximately $1.26 billion, including existing cash. AstraZeneca sees value in Ardea’s lead drug candidate, a new treatment for gout.

—After rebuffing an unsolicited $3.5 billion takeover offer from Bristol-Myers Squibb earlier this year, San Diego’s Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN) is looking for prospective buyers, according to press accounts. The move apparently prompted Carl Icahn, the financier and shareholder activist, to voluntarily withdraw a lawsuit filed over a corporate bylaw protecting Amylin directors who had voted to reject the offer. Icahn told reporters he still thinks Amylin should be sold, and dropped the suit after talking with Amylin CEO Daniel Bradbury.

—San Diego’s Biotix Holdings, which makes pipettes, laboratory consumables, and related products, has raised $2.2 million toward a $2.4 million equity round, according to a recent regulatory filing. Biotix was founded in 2005 by Grotech and Ferrer Freeman & Co. to serve life sciences, clinical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology laboratories.

RainTree Oncology elaborated on its recent $11.1 million financing round. In a statement, CEO Mike Martin says, “This second round financing will enable us to continue growing our core business, which provides community oncology practices a unique suite of products and services that improve quality of care and practice performance.” The recent financing brings the company’s total funding to $22.5 million.

Xconomy brought together a group of leaders in business, technology, and genomics to discuss the emerging field of “quantified health,” and how the new tools of molecular biology are data analytics are making it possible to detect early signs of disease long before any symptoms appear. This combination of big biology with big data has already begun—and it’s leading to health care that can be predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory.