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San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Accelrys, Celladon’s IPO, and More

Xconomy San Diego — 

A buyout offer for Accelrys, a new stem cell center of excellence, and an IPO. Not bad for one week of life sciences news. But wait, there’s more…

—French software developer Dassault Systèmes agreed to pay $750 million in cash to buy San Diego’s Accelrys (NASDAQ: ACCL), a smaller American rival that specializes in scientific and product lifecycle management software. The board at Accelrys has approved the deal, which extends Dassault Systèmes’ lineup in product lifecycle management software, 3D modeling, and basic scientific research and discovery. The French giant also gets about 2,000 Accelrys customers, including Sanofi, Pfizer, GSK, AstraZeneca, Du Pont, Shell, BASF, P&G, Unilever, and L’Oréal.

—Shares of San Diego-based Celladon (NASDAQ: CLDN) opened well above its $8-per-share IPO price yesterday, but slid from a midday high of $9.90 to close at $8.18 as more than 1.7 million shares changed hands on its first day of regular trading. Celladon, which is developing a gene therapy for patients with systolic heart failure, raised about $44 million in its IPO, which was postponed as the market for biotech IPOs stalled a bit in November. The pre-revenue company has raised about $120 million from venture investors Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, Pfizer Ventures, Lundbeckfond Ventures, Novartis Venture Funds, Johnson & Johnson Development, GBS Venture partners, Venrock, and H&Q Healthcare.

—San Diego’s Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute landed a $275 million pledge from an anonymous donor, to be paid over the next 10 years. The donation coincided with the institute’s adoption of a new 10-year strategic plan that sets forth a vision for aligning the nonprofit institute’s basic biomedical research, translational research, and drug discovery and development.

—The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine awarded a $40 million grant to establish a new Center of Excellence in Stem Cell Genomics, which will be based at Stanford University and led by Stanford molecular geneticist Michael Snyder. Five San Diego life sciences organizations will collaborate in the research and development effort: The Salk Institute for Biological Studies; UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute, The J. Craig Venter Institute, and Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN). UC Santa Cruz will run the center’s data coordination and management.

—San Diego’s Epic Sciences, founded in 2008 to advance ultra-sensitive technology for detecting circulating tumor cells in prepared blood samples, signed an agreement with LabCorp (NYSE: LH) to speed up European clinical trials that are using its technology. Epic has completed eight clinical studies of its technology, and has another 27 clinical trials underway around the world.

—About 100 people interested in recently-published regulatory guidance on mobile medical apps turned out for an FDA roadshow at UC San Diego that was organized by the mHealth Regulatory Coalition, a digital health consumer group that includes San Diego’s Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance. The four-hour educational workshop was intended to answer questions from software developers about mobile health technologies that are likely to fall within the new regulations. UT San Diego reported that the FDA regulators told the crowd that health apps intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of diseases must meet FDA guidelines.

Cibus Global, the San Diego agricultural biotechnology company, recently raised about $13.6 million from investors in exchange for equity and the rights to acquire more securities, according to a regulatory filing. The company has not said anything publicly about raising additional capital. However, Cibus said earlier this month it had acquired Nucelis, and industrial biotech using Cibus technology to make an oil compound used in cosmetics and other industries.

TP Therapeutics, a startup pharmaceutical company using structure-based design to develop new drug compounds, has raised $1.4 million of a planned $3 million round of equity, according to a regulatory filing. The company was founded last year by J. Jean Cui, a renowned oncology drug developer with more than 18 years of experience in drug discovery and project management in Big Pharma and biotech companies.

Suja Life, a San Diego startup founded less than two years ago to sell certified organic juices and vegetable drinks that have not been genetically modified, has raised $16.5 million of a $17.5 million round of equity funding, according to a regulatory filing.