San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Lithera, CardioCell, and More

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the industry needs clarity and certainty, and some highly technical markets tend to function better with tough, trusted regulatory bodies. My favorite line: “An unregulated Wild West free market is great if you’re selling books online or consumer smartphone apps. It’s not such a great thing when you’re talking about credit-default swaps or cancer drugs.”

—San Diego’s CardioCell, a new company spun out last year from Stemedica, said it has begun two clinical trials of a new potential stem-cell therapy for recent heart attack patients. CardioCell said its proprietary stem-cell technology has the potential to be more effective than other treatments for heart attacks. The company is running both a mid-stage study in the United States, and a late-stage trial in the Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities (NYSE: ARE), a commercial landlord for life sciences companies in San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, and other U.S. cities, has expanded its venture investment practice to include digital health startups, according to Dow Jones VentureWire. No specific deals were mentioned. At the end of last year, Alexandria listed investments of about $140 million on its balance sheet, according to its financial statement for the quarter ending Dec. 31. Most of that cash is invested in private companies, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of Alexandria’s earnings call.

—San Diego ranked among the top five metropolitan regions receiving venture capital funding for life sciences startups during the last three months of 2013, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers analysis of fourth-quarter VC activity based on MoneyTree data . San Diego’s life sciences community ranked fourth in VC investments, and here is the rundown: San Francisco Bay ($550 million); Boston ($382 million); Seattle ($186 million); San Diego Metro ($95 million); and New York Metro ($83 million). The top five regions accounted for 73 percent of the dollars invested in life sciences companies in the fourth quarter of 2013.

—Dr. Laura Esserman, director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center at UC San Francisco, became the first recipient of the Duane Roth Award, an honor created by the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center to honor champions of translational oncology. The award also is intended to recognize the contributions of the late Duane Roth, the Connect CEO and San Diego life sciences executive who died in a bicycling accident last summer. The award was announced as part of yesterday’s UCSD Moores Cancer Center Office of Industry Relation’s 10th annual Industry/Academy Translational Oncology Symposium.

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