Pearl Therapeutics Beats $3B Lung Drug, Anacor’s Flat IPO, Medtronic Buys Ardian for $800M, & More Bay Area Life Sciences News

Thanksgiving got in the way of last week’s biotech roundup, so this week I’m reaching a little further back in the archive for stories you may have missed.

—Redwood City, CA-based Pearl Therapeutics raised $69 million in venture capital last month, and now we can see why. The company showed, in a small clinical trial, that its inhalable combination therapy beat a $3 billion drug in a head-to-head study among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Pearl is now moving ahead with bigger trials to see if it can confirm the result.

Intarcia, the Hayward, CA-based developer of drug/device combination technology, has set out an ambitious game plan to shake up the field of diabetes therapy. New executive chairman Kurt Graves offered up his insights into what why he thinks the implantable device will have such a big impact, in this exclusive Xconomy interview.

—Palo Alto, CA-based Anacor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ANAC) pulled the trigger on its initial public offering, settling for about 38 percent less money than it was hoping to scrape together from public investors.

Faheem Hasnain, the former CEO of Redwood City, CA-based Facet Biotech before it was sold to Abbott Labs for $722 million this year, resurfaced this week with a new job as CEO of San Diego-based Receptos. He’s stepping in to replace Bill Rastetter, the partner at Venrock Associates, who had been interim CEO at Receptos. Rastetter remains chairman of the  startup.

—Mountain View, CA-based Ardian had plenty to be thankful for during the holiday break, as it agreed to be acquired for $800 million by medical device giant Medtronic (NYSE: MDT). Medtronic pounced after Ardian showed off new clinical trial data suggesting it has created a potent new device against high blood pressure that can’t be controlled by existing meds.

—Xconomy correspondent Ryan McBride  weighed in with the latest installment in the running battle among Dana-Farber Cancer Institute,  Novartis, and Millbrae, CA-based Gatekeeper Pharmaceuticals, over who has the rights to a promising new drug candidate against lung cancer. I’m hearing that this story is being closely watched in university tech transfer shops, and in VC land, for any reverberations it might have on how technology licenses get structured.

—A few days before the Ardian windfall, another Bay Area medical device company cashed out. This story was about Los Gatos, CA-based Sadra Medical, which agreed to be acquired by Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) for as much as $386 million. Sadra is the developer of a technique to repair aortic heart valves without requiring open heart surgery.

—We also ran a couple of guest editorials from our other West Coast bureaus that I thought would be of interest to our Bay Area readers. One, from Stewart Lyman in Seattle, was about what he calls “The Myth of the Patent Cliff.” And the other was from Scott Forrest at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, who talked about how broad sponsored research agreements between Big Pharma and academic centers ought to work.

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