SD Life Sciences Roundup: Organovo, Aethlon, & Deals, Deals, Deals

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the conversion of $2.35 million in debt to preferred stock. San Diego’s City Hill Ventures and LG Electronics USA provided most of the new funding, but Independa did not break out how much investors provided.

—Jeff Behrens, the CEO of Cambridge, MA-based Sialix, talked with freelance writer Juliet Preston about the startup, which moved into San Diego’s Janssen Labs life sciences business accelerator in November. Sialix is developing nutritional supplements and drugs that moderate or inhibit the body’s inflammatory response to a particular sialic acid sugar molecule found in red meat, dairy products, and other foods. Behrens said Sialix also plans to develop drugs that target certain cancers.

—San Diego-based Aethlon Medical, which has been developing a dialysis-like filtration device for straining infectious microbes and cancer particles from the blood, said it has asked the FDA for permission to begin a clinical feasibility study that would use its blood purification device to treat patients infected with Hepatitis-C. Aethlon said its application for an Investigational Device Exemption would allow the use of Aethlon’s “Hemopurifier” to collect the safety and effectiveness data needed to support a premarket approval application.

—San Diego’s Organovo said it is working with researchers at Autodesk to develop 3D design software for Organovo’s bioprinting technology, which lays down a pattern of cultured cells to create bio-engineered structures. In a statement, Organovo said the software development effort represents a major step forward in usability and functionality for designing three-dimensional human tissues, including vital organs like kidneys and bladders.

Domain Associates, the VC firm based in San Diego and Princeton, N.J., said it has invested about $93 million from a $760 million venture fund created last March through a partnership with Russia’s Rusnano. The fund invested $20.6 million in San Diego-based Lithera, a specialist in “aesthetic medicine” developing an injectable drug treatment to selectively reduce fat tissue. The fund also invested $21 million in Branford, CT-based Marinus Pharmaceuticals and $51 million in Regado Biosciences of Basking Ridge, NJ.

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