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Pfizer, combining its immune system sequencing technology with Pfizer’s cancer drug development. Gritstone recently emerged with a $102 million debut round to fund its cancer vaccine programs. Adaptive also raised a boatload of cash last year, in part to fuel its ambitions to move into drug development.
—San Diego’s Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARNA) and Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim said they agreed to joint R&D efforts in a quest for new drugs that target central nervous system receptors and to strengthen research in schizophrenia and other psychiatric diseases. Arena interim CEO Harry Hixon Jr. said the deal reflects Arena’s “new corporate focus.”
—South San Francisco, CA-based Iconic Therapeutics said it closed on a $40 million Series C financing round, with proceeds going to advance its lead drug for treating eye diseases and to begin clinical trials in ocular melanoma. The round included three new investors, HBM Healthcare Investments, Cormorant Asset Management, and Osage University Partners, and existing investors, including MPM Capital, H.I.G. Capital, and Lundbeckfund Ventures.
—San Diego-based Cidara Therapeutics said it plans to proceed to mid-stage clinical trials of CD101 IV, its new anti-fungal drug candidate for invasive candidiasis and other fungal infections. Data from an early stage trial with multiple doses showed the drug is well-tolerated with no serious or severe adverse events. The company completed a single-dose trial in November.
—Johnson & Johnson and the UC San Diego’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences said they would work together on a discovery program for potential treatments for Chagas’ disease.
—Carlsbad, CA-based Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IONS), which changed its name from Isis Pharmaceuticals just last month, said it has reclaimed rights to its cardiovascular drug mipomersen (Kynamro) from Genzyme. Mipomersen was the company’s lead RNA drug, and the FDA approved the cholesterol-lowering drug in 2013 as the first major RNA therapeutic.
—[Corrected to show Inova is based in Austin, TX] San Diego-based ResMed (NYSE: RMD), which specializes in medical devices for sleep-disordered breathing and respiratory care, said it agreed to acquire Austin, TX-based Inova Labs, a specialist in oxygen therapy products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
—LeafBio, Inc., the commercial arm of San Diego’s Mapp Biopharmaceutical, said it has begun a clinical safety trial of MB66, a rapidly dissolving film that releases anti-viral monoclonal antibodies to the vaginal mucosa. MB66 is intended to block the sexual transmission of genital herpes and HIV. MB66 is LeafBio’s second product to enter clinical trials; ZMapp is currently being evaluated for the treatment of Ebola in the United States and West Africa.