all the information, none of the junk | biotech • healthcare • life sciences

Texas Roundup: Bellicum, Spredfast, People Pattern, Neos, Localeur

Xconomy Texas — 

The start of the new year is proving to be fertile ground for Texas startups in the fundraising mode. Here’s the latest news from around the state.

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday it closed its Series B fundraising with an additional $14.7 million, bringing the total raised in this round to $34.4 million. Investors included Axia Ventures Group, in Nicosia, Cyprus, and Remeditex Ventures in Dallas. The Houston-based pharmaceutical company will use the money for clinical development of its drugs. One of these, the BPX-201 vaccine, consists of dendritic cells programmed to fight prostate cancer. The drug is being evaluated in a Phase I clinical trial. A second drug, BPX-501, contains a gene “safety switch” that helps doctors to eliminate transplanted cells if they become harmful to patients. It is currently being studied in a Phase I/II study to reduce or eliminate graft vs. host disease in cancer patients undergoing stem cell transplants.

—Two Austin, TX-based social marketing software companies have raised money in recent days. Spredfast announced on Friday that it had raised $32.5 million in Series D funding. The company, which has 150 employees, is adapting its software-as-a-service platform to reflect the evolving nature of social media since the company’s founding in 2008. The company has raised a total of $63.5 million. In social media, you don’t just talk to customers—they talk back, says Rod Favaron, Spredfast’s CEO. He added that Spredfast’s expertise lies in software that works with large social networks in big companies. Its clients include General Mills, Whole Foods, and REI.

Our second notable Austin deal also relates to Spredfast. Ken Cho, who was one of Spredfast’s founders, has a new venture, People Pattern, which raised $4.5 million Friday. Cho says it provides software to help clients use social media to focus less on what is being said and more on who is saying it. The startup, which launched last March, will use the money to further develop its platform and triple its current payroll of 10 people. Mohr Davidow Ventures in Menlo Park, CA, led the round, which included additional private investors. The venture firm also invested $250,000 in seed funding into People Pattern last year.

Neos Therapeutics, which is based in Grand Prairie, TX, just outside of Dallas, said Thursday it had raised $8 million of a $15 million equity offering from a dozen investors, according to an SEC filing.  Neos Therapeutics develops proprietary drug delivery systems. It last raised $18.2 million in July 2012.

—And lastly, Localeur, an Austin-based travel website that focuses on experiences recommended by locals rather than lists or reviews, said it launched its app for the iPhone Friday. Since the service debuted in March, Localeur has raised $500,000 from angel investors and expanded into Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, where its “localeurs” offer hip and trendy travel tips for the millennial set. More cities are planned for 2014, says Joah Spearman, its co-founder and CEO.