San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Accelrys, AirStrip, Ligand, & More

Xconomy San Diego — 

It’s been a chockablock week for San Diego’s life sciences community, with buyouts, investment deals, and milestone payments. Here’s our roundup.

Accelrys (Nasdaq: ACCL), the San Diego scientific software developer, said it’s paying $30 million in cash to acquire Aegis Analytical, a Lafayette, CO-based maker of specialized software that helps drug makers manage quality control and regulatory compliance. Accelrys plans to add the Aegis software to its suite of software used throughout the life cycle of scientific discovery, R&D, product development, commercialization, and manufacturing.

—Alan Portela, the San Diego-based CEO of San Antonio’s AirStrip Technologies, outlined the wireless health company’s technology development strategy, which is intended to allow doctors to use their smartphones and tablets to access patients’ electronic medical records anywhere. AirStrip Technologies has received more than $10 million in funding from the Wellcome Trust to advance its plan.

—San Diego-based Orexigen Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OREX) said it is planning a secondary stock offering, but the company’s statement also says, “there can be no assurance as to whether or when the offering may be completed, or as to the actual size or terms of the offering.” Orexigen has been developing a treatment for obesity, and the company has submitted a new drug application for its lead drug candidate, Bupropion/naltrexone (Contrave). Orexigen also has agreed to conduct a special protocol assessment to measure whether any major adverse cardiac events are associated with the drug.

—San Diego’s Ligand Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: LGND) said it’s getting a $2 million payment from Merck for meeting a milestone in its development of dinaciclib for the treatment of patients with refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). In a statement from the company, Ligand CEO John Higgins said the payment reinforces the strength of Ligand’s business model, “which is focused on drug discovery with a goal of entering high-quality collaborations to advance candidates through late-stage development.”

—A spokesman for San Diego-based Cognitive Medical Systems, a startup developing clinical decision support software solutions for healthcare organizations, tells me the company was awarded nearly $3.5 million in subcontract work on three contracts for both the U.S. Department of Defense and Veteran’s Affairs.

—San Diego-based Independa, which has developed a Web-based platform to provide home-health technology and services for the elderly, has raised $1 million from investors, with a goal of raising a total of $4.35 million, according to a recent regulatory filing. Independa said in April it had raised $2.35 million in convertible debt funding.