Friday, July 27, 2012

Biotech Day: Friday morning's national biotech news

From the 40 business journals of American City Business Journals …

Harvard gets DARPA grant to develop 'human on a chip' (Boston Business Journal/Mass High Tech)
The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard Universityannounced recently it will receive $37 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop technology that studies the human physiology. The five-year project will be led by Wyss Founding Director, Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D. and Wyss faculty member, Kevin Kit Parker, Ph.D. in conjunction with Wyss researchers and a multidisciplinary team of collaborators, a statement reads.

Researchers launch two cancer trials with Exelixis' 'cabo' (San Francisco Business Times)
Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Massachusetts General Hospital have launched separate trials using Exelixis Inc.'s experimental cancer-fighting drug cabozantinib.

Siluria raises $30M to convert methane to chemicals, fuel (San Francisco Business Times)
Siluria Technologies has raised another $30 million in venture capital to move toward commercialization of its methane-to-chemicals conversion technology. The company, located in the Fibrogen building in San Francisco’s Mission Bay, has raised $63 million since its founding four years ago. Two new investors led the latest round: Russian firm Bright Capital and Vulcan Capital in Seattle. (San Francisco Business Times subscription required.)

The push is on for a healthy pace at the FDA (Baltimore Business Journal)
Potential medical treatments can languish for years as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration grapples with increasing responsibilities and decreased funding, according to area biotech executives, who are hopeful that recent legislation will help grease the skids at the federal agency. (Baltimore Business Journal subscription required.)

Lannett again at odds with FDA (Philadelphia Business Journal)
Lannett Co. Inc., a Northeast Philadelphia generic drug maker, is again tangled up in a Food and Drug Administration directive concerning older medicines. Earlier this month, the FDA issued a notice instructing companies to stop manufacturing and distributing certain unapproved painkillers that contain oxycodone. (Philadelphia Business Journal subscription required.)

Regeneron's $75M expansion would create 110 jobs (The Business Review)
Expansion plans at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. call for a $75 million investment that would create at least 110 jobs in East Greenbush—or at competing overseas locations. Regeneron is riding early success of a new drug to treat macular degeneration, which leads to blindness. Analysts see the drug as a viable commercial product, a major milestone for a company that has built a cumulative loss of $1.3 billion during its 24 years in business. (The Business Review subscription required.)

Alimera Sciences OKs $40M stock offering (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
Alimera Sciences Inc. inked a securities purchase agreement with a group of institutional investors for a $40 million stock sale. The offering is 1 million shares at $40 a piece. Atlanta-based Alimera (Nasdaq: ALIM) is a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in research, development and commercialization of prescription ophthalmic pharmaceuticals. (Atlanta Business Chronicle subscription required.)

KV Pharma CEO's pay more than doubled in fiscal 2012 (St. Louis Business Journal)
KV Pharmaceutical Co. President and CEOGregory Divis Jr. earned $976,270 in the fiscal year ended March 31, more than double the $385,102 he was paid in fiscal 2011, according to a proxy statement the company filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Genentech's Lucentis recommended for approval for diabetic eye disease (San Francisco Business Times)
An FDA advisory panel recommended Thursday that Genentech Inc.'s eye drug Lucentis be approved for some diabetes patients who have lost their sight. Already approved for age-related macular degeneration, Lucentis' approved use could extend to patients with diabetic macular degeneration if the Food and Drug Administration approves the new application by Aug. 10.

Vaxin moving biotech company from Birmingham to Maryland (Birmingham Business Journal)
Vaxin Inc., a biotech company spun from research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has moved from Innovation Depot to a new home in Maryland as it continues development of vaccines for the flu and anthrax.

Boston Scientific CEO explains quarterly loss, lowered guidance (Boston Business Journal)
Shares in Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX) were down more than 6 percent Thursday afternoon, reaching a new 52-week low, after the company delivered a disappointing second quarter earnings report. The Natick, Mass.-based medical device maker swung to a net loss of $3.4 billion for the most recent quarter, due largely to a one-time, non-cash goodwill impairment charge of the same size, associated with its European unit.

Covidien shares rise on revenue growth (Boston Business Journal)
Shares in Covidien plc (NYSE: COV) were up more than 4 percent Thursday afternoon, after the company released earnings that showed revenue growth of 3 percent for the quarter, year over year. The company’s medical device division had even larger revenue growth, 8 percent year over year. Investors are especially encouraged because other large firms in the space, including Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) have lately struggled to grow medical device revenue.

Vitae CEO Jeff Hatfield.
Biotech CEO: Sarbanes-Oxley audits stand in way of IPO (The Business Journals)
Sunday will mark the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a financial reporting law prompted by accounting scandals at Enron and WorldCom. The biggest complaint businesses have about the law is the cost of complying with Section 404(b), which requires an external audit of a public company’s internal controls. The CEO of a small biotechnology company explained to Congress this week why this requirement is keeping companies like his from going public.

Gladstone repositions for more science, recognition, cash (San Francisco Business Times)
The Gladstone Institutes now belong to Sandy WilliamsScience, fundraising and operations are locked into Williams’ vision nearly two years after he started remaking the 33-year-old San Francisco biomedical research organization as only its second president. But there’s more to come as the Gladstone Institutes make a push to solidify leading positions in HIV, stem cell and brain disease research by evangelizing about the work, beefing up stipends to attract and keep the best researchers, and launching a $25 million initiative around HIV and aging. (San Francisco Business Times subscription required.)

UCSF, chancellor shifting to Mission Bay (San Francisco Business Times)
UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann will move into a new office building at Mission Bay, signaling a shift in the school’s center of gravity from Parnassus Avenue to its growing research campus. The University of California, San Francisco, in December will start work on the $94 million, six-story, 251,000-square-foot building, which will have shared workspaces and no traditional offices. That goes for Desmond-Hellmann as well. (San Francisco Business Times subscription required.)

Worthington biotech park gets first tenant (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)
Bioverse Inc., a Pipestone-based company that makes products to clean lakes of pollutants and agricultural runoff, is moving into a newly developed biotech park in Worthington, Minn.

Maryland, Virginia biotech funding down from last year (Baltimore Business Journal)
Biotech firms in Maryland and Virginia landed $91.7 million in venture funding for the first half of this year. Figures from the National Venture Capital Associationshowed a big drop from the $148.5 million raised in the same period of 2011, but it was still a stronger first-half showing than in any of the three years before that. (Baltimore Business Journal subscription required.)

Alabama NIH funding decline may get worse (Birmingham Business Journal)
The number and value of coveted National Institutes of Health grants in Alabama have both decreased in recent years, and experts say the trend might get even worse due to federal budget cuts. (Birmingham Business Journal subscription required.)

Accera grows, thanks to milkshake formula for Alzheimer's patients (Denver Business Journal)
Accera employed 15 people at its Broomfield headquarters when Holger Kunze became the biotech’s new CEO and president in January. Today, it has doubled to 30 employees there and expects to have as many as 140 nationwide by spring. The torrid growth is driven by Accera Inc.’s new backing from Nestlé. The Swiss food giant bought a 60 percent stake in Accera to back its product called Axona, a milkshake invented to help bolster the mental functions of patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. (Denver Business Journal subscription required.)

United Therapeutics revenue up 22 percent (Washington Business Journal)
Silver Spring-based United Therapeutics Corp. saw higher sales of its cardiopulmonary hypertension drugs last quarter, but rising expenses left profits little changed.

Mylan launches anti-fungal drug (Pittsburgh Business Times)
Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Canonsburg-based drug maker Mylan Inc., has received final approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market itraconazole, a drug used to treat fungal infections, the company announced on Friday. Itraconazole is the generic version of Sporanox, a Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc. product.

Device maker hopes to make life easier for dentists (Cincinnati Business Courier)
DC2 Technologies is seeking an initial six-figure investment to fund additional market research, product refinement and development, advertising and marketing and staff payroll. The company founders have consulted with Cincinnati-based Market Research Services Inc. for preliminary market study design and cost estimates. (Cincinnati Business Courier subscription required.)

Top of the List: Baltimore biotech companies (Baltimore Business Journal)

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