San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: RQx Pharma, Elcelyx, Lux, & More

Xconomy San Diego — 

Not a heavy week for local life sciences news. Here’s a quick wrap.

—San Diego’s RQx Pharmaceuticals said it signed a drug discovery partnership with Genentech, the Roche subsidiary based in South San Francisco, CA, that could result eventually in $111 million in milestone payments. RQx was founded two years ago with about $3.5 million in venture funding by a sole investor, San Diego-based Avalon Ventures, to advance a promising discovery involving the antibiotic arylomycin.

—San Diego’s Elcelyx Therapeutics raised $20 million in a Series C venture round led by the GSM Fund, a fund created by Eastbourne Capital portfolio manager Rick Barry solely to invest in Elcelyx. Morgenthaler Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Technology Partners also joined in the round. Alain Baron, who was an entrepreneur in residence at Morgenthaler, founded Elcelyx in 2010 to develop compounds that boost the signal along the appetite-control pathway that tells your brain your gut is full.

—The Chicago commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle ranked the San Diego area as the second-largest life sciences cluster in the United States, after the greater Boston area, in its recently released 2012 life sciences cluster report. It was a big jump for San Diego, which ranked seventh in the firm’s 2011 report.

—In his BioBeat column, Luke conducted an informal readership poll to get a sense of how the life sciences industry views the high prices some pharmas have put on new drugs approved by the FDA over the last year. The results are pending.

Lux Capital, a venture firm that invests in energy, technology, and healthcare, said it closed its third fund with commitments totaling $245 million. Lux, which is based in New York, has a special limited partner in San Diego (Xconomist Larry Bock) and has opened a second office in Palo Alto.