West Coast Biotech Roundup: Amgen, Grizzlies, Topol, Faraday & More

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by Wisconsin’s Cellular Dynamics and the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, a non-profit based in Camden, NJ.

—Fresh off raising its third fund in four years, San Francisco’s Foresite Capital Management is heavily invested in the current crop of privately held biotech companies that hope the IPO window remains open this fall. Foresite is one of many crossover investors that have helped fuel the nearly three-year biotech IPO boom by taking big stakes in what is often a company’s final private round. Foresite CEO Jim Tananbaum told Xconomy that his firm likes “larger rounds and deep pockets around the table with us.”

—One of those biotechs looking to go public is CytomX Therapeutics of South San Francisco. It filed paperwork with the SEC Monday and set an early goal of raising $100 million.

—Audentes Therapeutics of San Francisco said Tuesday it has acquired another privately held gene therapy developer, Cardiogen Sciences of Palo Alto, CA, for an undisclosed price. Cardiogen is using adeno-associated virus technology, which is also Audentes’s technology of choice, to develop gene therapies for inherited cardiac arrhythmias. It was founded last year.

— University of California San Diego lawyers continue to battle with the University of Southern California over an Alzheimer’s research program. But UCSD is moving ahead with the program, including a search for a new director and four new clinical trials, the school’s vice chancellor for health sciences David Brenner wrote in an op-ed piece Friday for Xconomy. The previous director, Paul Aisen, left UCSD for USC and tried to bring the program with him, sparking the legal fight.

—Late last Thursday, Amgen got good news from the FDA, which approved its anti-cholesterol drug evolocumab (Repatha). Amgen said it would charge $14,100 per year but, in a cryptic statement, seemed to leave open the possibility for performance-based pricing.

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