Amazon and Madrona Back Yieldex, UW Benefits from Merck Sales, Digini and Vyk Merge, & More Seattle-Area Deals News

It was a quiet week for deals in the Northwest, with just a trickle in the biotech, business software, and gaming arenas.

—Seattle-based Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CTIC) sold its remaining 50 percent stake in its cancer drug Zevalin to its partner, Irvine, CA-based Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SPPI) for $18 million, Luke reported. The cash will buy some time for the struggling biotech to maximize the value of another of its drugs, pixantrone for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

—Luke uncovered the fascinating story of a licensing deal with Merck that’s now providing a windfall for the University of Washington. Indeed, sales of Merck’s Gardasil, one of the world’s best-selling vaccines (for cervical cancer), have helped triple the UW’s licensing revenues from the Washington Research Foundation in the past three years to $38 million in 2008. It’s all thanks to some contentious patent litigation from the 1990s that strengthened and extended the lifespan of a piece of UW intellectual property.

—Seattle-based Visualant (OTCBB: VSUL) is in the process of acquiring TransTech Systems, a Wilsonville, OR-based maker of identification and security products. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close before the end of June. Visualant makes light-based authentication and security technologies.

—Digini, a video-game tool developer based in Issaquah, WA, merged with Shanghai, China-based Vyk Games to form a new company called Blade Games, which will make game development software. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Blade Games will be based in Bellevue, WA, and headed by former Digini CEO Tony Garcia.

—Redmond, WA-based Concur led a $4.6 million Series B investment in RideCharge, a mobile taxi-booking service based in Alexandria, VA, that lets travelers arrange for ground transportation using their mobile device. Concur makes corporate expense management software.

—Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group led an $8.5 million Series B financing round for Yieldex, an inventory management startup based in New York. Amazon, Sequel Venture Partners, and First Round Capital also participated in the funding. Yieldex won the $100K Amazon Web Services startup challenge in November.

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