Accelerator’s Mirina Advances, Qliance Nabs Bezos Bucks, Spiration Adds $6.5M Debt, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Seattle — 

There was quiet before the storm this week, as Dendreon is eagerly awaiting the FDA’s decision by May 1 on whether it will clear the company’s prostate cancer drug for sale. Buckle your seat belts for that one.

—Accelerator’s microRNA startup, Mirina, has made enough progress in its early days that it has secured an undisclosed “expansion” round of financing led by Versant Ventures. The company says its microRNA drugs are not just more potent than ones being developed by rivals, but they also have “unexpected properties” that should offer another advantage, once it pins down the necessary intellectual property.

—If having a famous investor syndicate were the only key to success, then Qliance Medical Management would be well on its way. The Seattle-based company, which deals directly with patients and doesn’t accept health insurance for primary care medical services, nailed down a $6 million financing from Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell, Drew Carey and others. These guys, no dummies, wrote their checks AFTER President Obama signed the health care reform bill that allows direct primary care services to compete in every state with regular insurance by 2014.

Spiration, the Redmond, WA-based maker of devices for lung diseases, has collected another $6.5 million in debt financing from a single investor, according to a regulatory filing. Spiration raised $7 million in debt back in September from its partner, Olympus Medical Systems.

—Anybody who works in the local life sciences industry will tell you it can be hard to hold down a steady paycheck. Most drugs and devices fail in development, after all. But Chris Rivera, the president of the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association, says the latest stats show 22,349 people statewide employed in life sciences work, making it the state’s fifth-biggest employer among industries.

—Speaking of WBBA, the local trade association just added a very well-known name to its team—H. Stewart Parker. The founder and longtime CEO of Targeted Genetics is taking on a new role for the WBBA as a commercialization advisor to life sciences entrepreneurs on a part-time basis.