Lenovo Buys Switchbox, Ekos Raises $12.5M, nLight Lands $10.7M, & More Seattle-Area Deals News

It was a very busy week for deals in the Northwest—a lot of action in biotech, software, and devices, including a flurry of deals in the Portland area.

—Luke reported that Portland, OR-based MolecularMD, a maker of molecular diagnostics for cancer, raised $3 million in new venture funding, led by Ballast Point Venture Partners. MolecularMD was founded in 2006 based on technology from the Oregon Health & Science University.

—Another Portland company, Elemental Technologies, signed a strategic partnership and technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel, the venture arm of the CIA and the U.S. intelligence community. Financial terms were not given. Elemental, which is backed by Seattle’s Voyager Capital and Cambridge, MA-based General Catalyst, makes video processing software that works with advanced graphics chips.

—Yet another Portland firm, AVI Biopharma, raised $16.5 million in a common stock sale to institutional investors including Eastbourne Capital Management, as Luke reported. AVI is developing new treatments for gene silencing that might work against Ebola and other deadly pathogens.

—Luke broke the news that Bothell, WA-based Ekos raised $12.5 million in a Series D round of venture funding, led by Chicago-based Crown Venture Fund. The new cash will be used to commercialize a mini ultrasound probe that amplifies the effect of drugs that dissolve blood clots in the legs.

—Xconomy first reported that Seattle-based PayScale, a provider of online salary-comparison data, raised $2 million in a Series C round of venture funding. The investors in the latest round were not disclosed, but PayScale has been backed in the past by Fluke Venture Partners, Madrona Venture Group, Trinity Ventures, and others.

—Stealthy Seattle startup Switchbox Labs was acquired by personal-computer giant Lenovo for an undisclosed amount. Switchbox was co-founded by Michael Sievert, a former Windows vice president at Microsoft.

—Seattle-based ZymoGenetics took back the full commercial rights to its lead cancer drug candidate, IL-21, from the Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk, as Luke reported. ZymoGenetics agreed to make an undisclosed future milestone payment, plus some royalties on sales of the drug outside North America.

—Bellevue, WA-based Intellectual Ventures, the invention company, acquired the patent portfolio of Transmeta, a Santa Clara, CA-based semiconductor firm. No financial terms were given, but Intellectual Ventures said it is gaining more than 140 U.S. patents and a substantial number of pending patent applications.

—Luke reported that Seattle drug developer Omeros received $3.1 million in equity financing and grants from The Stanley Medical Research Institute. The funds will be used to continue animal testing of a treatment for schizophrenia.

—Seattle Genetics, a Bothell, WA-based cancer drug developer, raised $55.8 million in a stock sale. The company also said it would sell more stock to Baker Brothers Life Sciences, its largest stockholder, for an additional $11.5 million, if the sale is approved by other shareholders.

—Rachel reported that Seattle-based Verdiem inked a partnership with Cisco Systems to deliver software to help businesses reduce energy consumption of personal computers and networked devices. The software product is planned for release next summer, and will eventually be upgraded to monitor whole-building energy, including lights and heat.

—Lastly, back to the Portland area. Vancouver, WA-based nLight, a developer of high-powered semiconductor lasers, raised $10.7 million from existing investors Oak Investment Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Menlo Ventures. The funds will be used to continue laser development and to boost sales to customers in the industrial, defense, and medical markets.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Editor in chief. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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