San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Halozyme, Skylight, NuSI, & More

Xconomy San Diego — 

Halozyme Therapeutics got a shot in the arm after the FDA decided that safety concerns over the company’s recombinant enzyme were limited to its drug program with Baxter. Here’s my rundown, along with the rest of San Diego’s life sciences news.

—The FDA allowed San Diego’s Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ: HALO) and Exton, PA-based ViroPharma (NASDAQ: VPHM) to resume clinical trials of a joint product they’re developing for a rare immune disorder. The FDA on Aug. 2 halted testing of the drug, which combines ViroPharma’s C1 esterase inhibitor (Cinryze) with Halozyme’s proprietary recombinant human hyaluronidase, or rHuPH20. The FDA had halted the trials due to safety concerns over antibodies to rHuPH20 that were detected in tests of another experimental drug called HyQ, which combines Baxter’s disease-fighting immunoglobulin Halozyme rHuPH20. Halozyme said the FDA’s concerns are now limited specifically to the HyQ program.

—I got a chance to talk briefly with Peter Attia, president of the new San Diego Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI), who told me the kind of exacting research he wants to do will require the use of metabolic chambers. Attia said he’s considering acquiring as many as eight of the chambers, and creating a facility for patients that would be much like a hotel—so they’re actually pleasant to be in.

—The San Diego-based West Health Institute said it used Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensing system to develop a prototype that could be used to help physical therapy patients comply with their prescribed strength and conditioning programs. The nonprofit medical research organization said it also plans to collaborate with the Naval Medical Center of San Diego in using the prototype to help wounded warriors and other patients.

Skylight Healthcare Systems, a San Diego-based company developing interactive patient systems to support patient care before, during, and after a hospital stay, said they closed on $5 million in Series D funding from Duchossois Capital Partners, an affiliate of the Elmhurst, IL-based Duchossois Group. Skylight said it has reached profitability, and plans to use the funding to accelerate its growth and development.

OncoSec Medical, a San Diego company developing electroporation technology to increase the concentration of an anti-cancer drug in solid tumor cancers, said the University of Washington (UW) will join UC San Francisco, the John Wayne Cancer Institute, and Lakeland Cancer Center as the fourth site for its mid-stage metastatic melanoma clinical trial. I previewed the technology earlier this year.