Alder’s Breakout $1B Deal, Kineta Teams With UW on Vaccines, Verathon Gets Acquired, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Seattle — 

This was the week that a little biotech company in Bothell that few of the locals have ever heard of, burst onto the national stage.

—Bothell, WA-based Alder Biopharmaceuticals had its breakout moment this week when it pulled in $85 million in upfront cash, and stands to gain more than $1 billion over time from a partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb to co-develop a new drug for rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical trial data on this drug hasn’t yet been released publicly, but CEO Randy Schatzman says it’s good enough to give market-leading drugs from Amgen and Abbott Labs a “run for their money.” Seattle Genetics CEO Clay Siegall, an Alder director, says it is now a “force” in regional biotech.

—Over in Seattle’s South Lake Union, another little-known private company called Kineta said it is splitting a little more than half of a federal contract with the University of Washington worth $13 million over the next five years. The goal will be to develop new chemical compounds, called adjuvants, that can boost the effectiveness of a wide variety of vaccines.

—The Institute for Systems Biology is continuing to net a lot of grant money, this week announcing that it has pulled in $8 million from the National Institutes of Health to contribute to The Cancer Genome Atlas. This is a genomic effort to identify potential new targets for cancer drugs.

—The battle between Seattle-based ZymoGenetics (NASDAQ: ZGEN) and Bristol, TN-based King Pharmaceuticals is heating up in federal court in Tennessee. If you’ve missed any of the back-and-forth, or how this ball really got rolling back in August, here’s a quick summary.

—Bellevue, WA-based Light Sciences Oncology, another private company that keeps a low profile, revealed in a regulatory filing that it has lined up another $35 million to support its drug-device combination therapy for cancer. The money is available in the form of a line of credit, and if investors choose to exercise warrants.

—Bothell, WA-based Verathon, the maker of a simple ultrasound tool for diagnosing bladder disorders, was acquired by Sarasota, FL-based Roper Industries (NYSE: ROP) as part of a pair of transactions valued at $356 million. The companies aren’t saying how much of that is going to the Verathon shareholders.

—Seattle-based Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN), the king of the moment in Seattle biotech, issued a pretty vanilla quarterly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. One point worth noting was that it burned $28 million of its cash reserves in the three-month period ending September 30. It ended that quarter with $259.6 million in cash and investments left in the bank as it prepares to manufacture and market sipuleucel-T (Provenge) next year for men with terminal prostate cancer.