San Diego Business Journal

More Biotech Firms Head to ATM for Cash

LIFE SCIENCES: New Financing Approach Is Gaining Attention

Publicly held biotechnology companies are increasingly going the ATM route to raise capital, said Todd Wyche, co-founder and managing director of New York-based investment firm Brinson Patrick Securities Corp., which has an office in La Jolla.

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OncoSec Inches Ahead on Skin Cancer Zapping Technology

BIOTECH: Company Uses Electricity to Deliver Drug That Helps Kill Tumors

San Diego-based OncoSec Medical Inc. is making headway on a unique approach to treat the highly aggressive form of skin cancer known as Merkel cell carcinoma, said CEO Punit Dhillon.

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$37M Sale of Assets Helps Verenium Say Goodbye to Debt

BIOTECH: Local Enzyme Maker Inks Deal That Sends Stock Soaring

Verenium Corp., a San Diego-based industrial biotechnology company, has closed on a $37 million sale of its oilseed processing business and other assets to the food and beverage unit of Royal DSM N.V., a multinational science company with headquarters in the Netherlands.

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UCSD Hospital Breaks Ground

HEALTH CARE: Jacobs Medical Center: From ‘Bench-to-Bedside’

Sleek architectural renderings of UC San Diego Health System’s future medical center in La Jolla are what first caught the attention of Irwin Jacobs more than two years ago.

Illumina’s Board Not Impressed by Roche’s Revised Takeover Bid

San Diego-based gene sequencing giant Illumina Inc. on April 2 rejected Roche Holding AG’s revised takeover bid, which values the company at about $6.7 billion.

Sapphire Raises $144M in Series C Funding to Commercialize Green Crude

San Diego-based Sapphire Energy Inc., which is using algae to produce “green crude” oil that can be used for fuel, has raised $144 million in Series C investment financing.

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Healthy Savings

HEALTH CARE: Firms’ Wellness Programs Help Keep Costs Down

When it comes to health care, “knowledge is power,” said Joe Dildy, the senior director of benefits and wellness for AMN Healthcare Services Inc., one of San Diego’s largest employers. AMN Healthcare —with more than 1,700 corporate employees eligible for benefits — is among dozens of local employers that have launched a wellness program in recent years as a way to curtail fast-rising medical insurance costs.

Report Provides Snapshot of Employer-Sponsored Insurance

HEALTH CARE: Fewer Firms Offering Benefits

The hotly debated individual health insurance mandate — a key piece of the Affordable Care Act that’s under Supreme Court review — would require that just about everyone in the United States have some type of medical coverage, whether the person is employed or not.

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CO-OP Idea Praised as Innovative Health Care

MEDICINE: Doctor Sees Potential for Insurance Plan to Reduce Costs

The Supreme Court heard arguments last week on whether to keep in tact the Affordable Care Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in March 2010.

Amylin Shares Soar; Company Spurns Offer

Shares of Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. jumped March 28 in the wake of a news report that the diabetes-focused pharmaceutical company had rejected a $3.5 billion unsolicited takeover offer from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. earlier this year.

Roche Raises Bid in Battle for Illumina

BIOTECH: Offer Values Company at More Than $6.5B

The takeover battle continues for San Diego-based DNA sequencing company Illumina Inc. Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG increased its bid price to $51 per share in cash from the initial $44.50. The sweetened offer values Illumina at more than $6.5 billion.

Millennium Labs Leads Effort to Establish Industrywide Code of Ethics

Medicine: Problems in Medication Monitoring Said to Be Widespread

It’s like the Wild, Wild West in the pain-medication monitoring industry, say leaders at San Diego-based Millennium Laboratories Inc.

Arena’s Obesity Drug Begins Regulatory Review in Europe

BIOTECH: Company Still Seeking FDA Approval

Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical-stage drug developer, said recently that the European Medicines Agency has accepted the company’s marketing application for its investigational obesity drug lorcaserin.

Biopharmaceutical Firm Expects $7.75 Million From Public Offering

OncoSec Medical Inc., a San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company that’s developing therapies to treat solid tumor cancers, expects to raise $7.75 million in gross proceeds through a public stock offering.

Optimer Forges $90M Licensing Deal With Japan’s Astellas Pharma

San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc. stands to gain $90 million or more through an exclusive license it granted to Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. for the anti-infective drug fidaxomicin.

La Jolla Institute Is Place to Be for Postdocs

The La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology landed a spot in the top 10 “Best Places to Work for Postdocs,” published recently in The Scientist magazine.

Amylin Shares Soar on News of Spurned Bristol-Myers Offer

Shares of Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. jumped March 28 in the wake of a news report that the diabetes-focused pharmaceutical company had rejected a $3.5 billion unsolicited offer from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. earlier this year.

Local Company Selling Weight Loss Gummies

Green Forest Nutrition, which makes dietary supplements, said March 27 that it has developed a new “functional food” product called Gummy Owls, which will help adults and adolescents lose weight.

Biopharmaceutical Company Expects $7.75 Million From Public Offering

OncoSec Medical Inc., a San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company that’s developing therapies to treat solid tumor cancers, expects to raise $7.75 million in gross proceeds through a public stock offering.

Local Biotech Advances New Approach for Treating Sleep Apnea

MEDICAL DEVICES: Firm Developing ‘Pacemaker’ For the Tongue

“It’s the tongue, stupid.”

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Swiss Drug Company Gives $10M Gift to Salk Institute

The Salk Institute of Biological Studies is in high spirits after receiving its largest philanthropic gift this fiscal year — $10 million in unrestricted funds from Switzerland-based drug company Ferring Pharmaceuticals, a longtime supporter of the La Jolla-based research institute.

New Research Center Is $90M Merck ‘Experiment’

BIOTECH: Giant Looks to Calibr to Launch Medicines

It’s the calm before a storm of activity for the newly formed California Institute for Biomedical Research, also known as Calibr.

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Online Bookings Help Docs Fill Appointment Slots

HEALTH CARE: ZocDoc Lands in San Diego; Therapists Get Own App

If you want to go out for a nice meal, you can use your computer or iPhone to book a table for tonight at one of hundreds of San Diego restaurants offering online reservations through a company such as OpenTable Inc.

CEO Don Casey Resigns From West Wireless Institute for New Job

HEALTH CARE: Medical Research Group Seeks ‘Exceptional Successor’

Influential mobile health advocate Donald Casey Jr., the inaugural CEO of the Gary & Mary West Wireless Health Institute in La Jolla, will be stepping down for a job he plans to accept at “a major health care company.”

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Prospect of Expiring Patent Heartens Firm

MEDICAL DEVICES: Doctors Want Way to Assess Medications

The clock is ticking: In less than two months, the world’s second-best-selling drug, Plavix, will meet generic competition in the United States.

Court’s Ruling Could Hamper Biotech Funding

The biotechnology industry is reeling after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that two medical-testing patents held by San Diego-based Prometheus Laboratories Inc. were invalid.

Some See ‘SmartCare’ as the Future of HMOs

HEALTH CARE: Region’s Employers Pay Less for Health Net Insurance Plan

Health Net of California Inc. has rolled out what it’s calling a “next generation” health insurance option to San Diego companies, with premiums up to 25 percent less than its traditional statewide HMO product.

Firm Makes Strides On Cancer Drugs

BIOTECH: Marshall Edwards Seeks Piece of $1.1B Market

Marshall Edwards Inc. can now officially call itself a “clinical stage” company after more than a decade focused chiefly on research and drug development.

La Jolla to Host New Research Lab

Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., in a move to quickly translate biomedical research into new medicines, said it will provide up to $90 million in funding over seven years for a new 150-person nonprofit research center in La Jolla.

Firm Sees Growth Opportunities in Acquisition of RealAge

MEDIA: Move Gives Sharecare More Tools To Personalize Content

San Diego-based health media company RealAge Inc. — known best for developing a science-based health assessment tool that estimates an individual’s “real age” based on lifestyle habits and medical history — is being gobbled up by a young Atlanta-based company co-founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the “Dr. Oz Show.”

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Firm Gives Multi-Organ Failure ‘Shok’ Therapy

HEALTH CARE: Company Focuses on a Condition That Kills Thousands

Local biotech startup InflammaGen Therapeutics Inc. has launched a 200-person pilot study on intensive-care patients in San Diego for an investigational drug targeting multi-organ failure — the second-leading cause of hospital deaths in the country.

The Russians Are Coming To the Life Science Scene

TECHNOLOGY: VC Deal Is Expected to Benefit Local Firms

It’s an unconventional partnership that observers say will energize the San Diego biotechnology sector: Venture capital firm Domain Associates LLC has joined with Russian government-owned technology fund Rusnano to invest a combined $760 million in U.S. health care technology companies.

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Sapphire Squeezes Oil From Bacteria

ENERGY: New Strain To Boost Production Of ‘Green Crude’

San Diego biofuels company Sapphire Energy Inc. has struck a deal with Irvine-based Earthrise Nutritionals LLC in a move to expand its inventory of algae strains used to create so-called “green crude” oil that can replace fossil fuels.

Scarless Healing Products at the Heart of Local Firms’ Partnership

BIOTECH: Suneva Medical To Sell Trio of Histogen’s Skin Care Products

It’s a beautiful partnership for two privately held San Diego biotech companies: Suneva Medical Inc., which makes and sells the long-lasting dermal filler sold as Artefill, has purchased exclusive licensing rights to a trio of regenerative skin care products developed by regenerative medicine company Histogen Inc., the businesses announced recently.

CareFusion Adds Pharmacy Automation Firm to Its Portfolio

HEALTH CARE: Company Seeks to Offer Complete Medicine Management

Medical technology company CareFusion Corp. has signed a deal to acquire a Seattle-based software and consulting company that helps hospital pharmacies better manage their inventory and lower their costs.

Arena Pharmaceuticals is Seeking European Union Approval for Drug

San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. said recently that it’s seeking regulatory approval to sell its investigational weight-loss drug lorcaserin in the European Union.

Firm Sells the Benefits of a Healthy Workforce

HEALTH CARE: Its Preventive Approach Can Reduce Costs

More companies are doling out dollars for wellness programs designed to get their employees healthy and fit, said George DeVries, chairman and CEO of privately held American Specialty Health Inc.

Incentives Drive Effort To Fight Rare Illnesses

BIOTECH: Patients Are Few, Rewards Are Many

rare genetic disease called Fragile X syndrome — believed to be a leading cause of autism and mental retardation

Startup Discovers Health Care Data Hiding in Social Media Noise

SOFTWARE: Program Can Turn Gossip Into Vital Information for Business

Twitter has more than 100 million active users. Facebook has more than 845 million. And what is one of the most common topics that users are writing about? Their health.

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Drugmakers Looking to Gain From Speedier Regulatory Process

HEALTH CARE: Firm Developing Antibiotics To Combat Superbug

Trius Therapeutics Inc. is among a host of U.S. drugmakers that stand to benefit from a proposed law

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Pathway Genomics CEO Talks Up Personal Genetic Testing

HEALTH CARE: DNA Assessment From Saliva Sample Yields Health Data

In a modest single-story building in Sorrento Valley, Pathway Genomics Inc.’s genetic testing laboratory is brimming with high-tech machinery

Hospitals Get ‘Unwired’ Through New Standards

HEALTH CARE: Local Facility To Be Area’s First to Use Network

When the new Scripps Coastal Medical Center in Oceanside opens in July, the 33,500-square-foot building will be the first facility in all of San Diego County to use a new medical-grade wireless network that’s expected to lower health care costs and drive product innovation.

Biotechs Put Out a Call for Capital to Advance Their Efforts

MEDICINE: Stock Activity Reflects Climate And Sector’s Productivity

February has seen a flurry of stock offering activity among San Diego’s publicly held life science companies that are seeking capital to advance investigational drugs and prepare for product launches, among other things.

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Mobile Health, Genomics Change Doctors’ Role

INNOVATION: Tools Redefine Care Process; Patients More Involved

Dr. Samir Damani doesn’t want patients to dread visiting his office. He wants them to look forward to it as much as they’d look forward to a trip to an Apple store at the mall.

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Nonprofit to Put Developing Countries on the Medical Map

BIOTECH: CRO Exec Aims to Bring Trials and Treatments to the Poor

Ellen Morgan declared she was ready for her “next adventure” when she stepped down last year as president and CEO of Synteract Inc., a Carlsbad-based company that she had developed over the course of 16 years into one of the largest and fastest-growing contract research organizations in Southern California.

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Bright Ideas Win Race For Cash

FINANCE: Local Biotech Leads Investment Pack Despite VC Challenges

Even amid a risk-averse investing environment, there’s always money available for the most innovative drug and medical device ideas, said Joseph Panetta, CEO of the San Diego-based life sciences trade group Biocom.

Life Sciences Venture Capital Soars 45% in Q4

Companies in San Diego’s biotechnology and medical device industries continued to receive the largest share of local venture capital during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree Survey, conducted in partnership with the National Venture Capital Association.

Irwin Jacobs Stresses Business Need for Strong Cultural Climate

WORKFORCE: Qualcomm Co-Founder Also Calls For Improving Education

Qualcomm Inc. co-founder Irwin Jacobs has spoken out in support of a push by local biotech company CEO Philip Low to get mayoral candidates to present proposals for improving San Diego’s entrepreneurial climate.

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Rescuing Big Pharma?

BIOTECH: Local Companies Hatching Drug Innovations

Diego Miralles is conducting an experiment on the campus of Johnson & Johnson’s West Coast drug research center in Torrey Pines Mesa.

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Investors Bet on Bioprinting as the Next Big Thing in Medicine

SCIENCE: Organovo Raises Funds to Advance Novel Tissue Technology

Backers stepped up and invested $6.5 million in Organovo Inc.

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