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September 19, 2011

Southeast BIO Venture Wire

Filed under: SOUTHEAST BIO VENTURE WIRE: A Bimonthly Newsletter — admin @ 6:11 pm

ATLANTA, GA - While deal activity tends to slow in the summer months, the news was generally positive for the Southeast region. Several significant venture rounds were completed, including an eyeball-popping $100M series E for Intrexon Corporation (Blacksburg, VA), the synthetic biology company backed by billionaire Randall Kirk.

Some more traditional venture-backed companies, including Regado Biosciences (Durham, NC) and Metabolon (Durham, NC), completed significant follow-on venture financings. An unusual amount of activity was reported in Louisiana, with follow-on venture rounds announced for Esperance Pharmaceuticals (Baton Rouge, LA) and Embera NeuroTherapeutics, Inc. (Shreveport, LA). The news that Hatteras Venture Partners continued to advance against their target $125 million fund was also positive for the region. As a result of merger activity, however, two well-known companies will disappear from the Southeastern landscape: Trimeris (as a result of its merger with MA-based Synageva) and Inspire Pharmaceuticals (through its merger with Merck).

While the economic environment remains turbulent, we begin the busy fall season with expectations for continued growth of the regional life sciences economy. Please join us on November 2-3 at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, North Carolina for the 13th Annual SEBIO Investor Forum.

Becky Kaufman
King & Spalding
SEBIO Marketing Chairman

REGIONAL VENTURE NEWS

Intrexon Corporation Raises $100 Million for Synthetic Biology Initiatives
BLACKSBURG, VA – Intrexon Corporation, a next generation synthetic biology company, today announced that it has closed a Series E preferred investment round of $100 million, bringing the company’s total capital raised to more than $259 million. New investors took the majority of the round while existing investors, including Randal J Kirk, Intrexon’s Chairman and CEO, and Third Security, LLC, took the remainder. (more…)

Regado Biosciences Raises $26M in Funding
DURHAM, NC - Regado Biosciences has raised another $26.1 million in a Series D funding round, according to a regulatory filing made this week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Durham-based venture capital group Aurora Funds is among the existing investors in Regado.
(more…)

Metabolon Secures $13 Million in Series D Financing
DURHAM, NC - Metabolon, Inc., a diagnostics and services company offering the industry’s leading biochemical profiling technology, announced today that it has secured $13.1 million in a Series D financing. New investor Keating Capital, Inc. joins existing investors, including Sevin Rosen Funds, Aurora Funds, Harris & Harris Group (Nasdaq:TINY), Syngenta Ventures, Fletcher Spaght and Fulcrum Financial Partners, in the round. (more…)

Esperance Pharmaceuticals Completes $7.5 Million Series B Financing
BATON ROUGE, LA - Esperance Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced the first closing of a $7.5 million Series B financing. Proceeds from the Series B will support further clinical development of EP-100, the lead cancer-targeting drug candidate from Esperance’s Cationic Lytic Peptide (CLYP™) platform technology and the continued expansion of the Company’s pipeline. (more…)

Mustard Tree Instruments Raises $4.8M
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - Mustard Tree Instruments, which makes drug testing equipment, has secured $4.8 million in first-round funding, the company announced Thursday. It will use the money to expand its headquarters and laboratory in Research Triangle Park, develop its sales territory in North America and Europe and continue to develop two new products set to hit the market later this year and in 2012. (more…)

Embera NeuroTherapeutics Closes on $4.5 Million Continuation of Series A Financing
SHREVEPORT, LA – Embera NeuroTherapeutics, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for smoking cessation and other addictions, announced today that it has closed on $4.5 million in a continuation of its Series A financing. Embera’s existing venture investors, Louisiana Ventures, L.P., Louisiana Fund I, and Themelios Ventures, as well as private investors, participated in the round. (more…)

Funder Boosts Centice’s Drug Technology
MORRISVILLE, NC - Centice Corp. has secured $2.3 million of a $4 million fundraiser to further development of its drug identification technology. The Morrisville, NC-based company states that it raised the money “to drive growth in hospital medication reconciliation solutions and drug identification in law enforcement applications.” (more…)

REGIONAL M&A NEWS:

Merck Closes on Inspire Acquisition
RALEIGH, NC - Merck has completed its acquisition of Raleigh-based Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc., the global drug and vaccine maker announced Monday. Merck (NYSE: MRK) bought Inspire for $5 per share in cash, and Inspire shares have ceased trading on the Nasdaq. (more…)

Synageva BioPharma and Trimeris Announce Merger Agreement
DURHAM, NC – Synageva BioPharma Corp., a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutic products for rare disorders (“Synageva”), and Trimeris, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRMS) (“Trimeris”), announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Synageva will merge with Trimeris in an all-stock transaction. Upon closing, the combined company will be named Synageva BioPharma Corp., and will operate under the leadership of the Synageva management team with Sanj K. Patel serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer. (more…)

Grifols and Talecris Get FTC Approval to Merge
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - Barcelona, Spain-based Grifols said Wednesday that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has accepted a consent agreement that outlines the conditions for merger of the blood therapeutics companies. Last month, the FTC and the companies reached a preliminary agreement that identified which assets the companies must sell in order to win the agency’s blessing. (more…)

LecTec Corporation Announces Signing of Merger Agreement with AxoGen Inc.
ALACHUA, FL - LecTec Corporation (OTCBB: LECT) announced today that on May 31, 2011 it entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (“Merger Agreement”) with AxoGen Corporation, d/b/a AxoGen Inc., a privately held company focused on developing and commercializing medical products for the repair of peripheral nerve injuries. As provided in the Merger Agreement, a newly formed subsidiary of LecTec will merge with and into AxoGen. AxoGen will be the surviving corporation and will continue its business as a wholly-owned subsidiary of LecTec. (more…)

OTHER REGIONAL NEWS:

VC Group Hunts for Biotech Seed Investments as $125M Fund Takes Shape
DURHAM, NC - Durham, NC-based venture capital fund Hatteras Venture Partners intends to announce today that it has raised $74 million for its fourth investment fund, putting it well more than halfway toward its $125 million goal. The firm will continue to raise money from institutional investors and wealthy individuals for at least six months, said Clay Thorp, co-founder and general partner. (more…)

Furiex Pharmaceuticals Lands $15M Loan
MORRISVILLE, NC - Morrisville, NC-based Furiex Pharmaceuticals Inc. says it has inked a loan agreement for $15 million to support research and development on three of its clinical stage compounds. The lenders are MidCap Financial and Silicon Valley Bank. (more…)

Cempra Pharmaceuticals Gets another $5M
CHAPEL HILL, NC - Cempra Pharmaceuticals has raised $5 million in debt and warrants, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The Chapel Hill-based drug company, which develops differentiated antibiotics to treat antibiotic-resistant pathogens, previously raised $46 million in equity in May 2010. (more…)

GeoVax Gets $3.6M IPCAVD Grant
ATLANTA, GA - GeoVax Labs Inc. has landed a $3.6 million Integrated Preclinical/Clinical AIDS Vaccine Development grant. The grant was first awarded in 2007 to Atlanta-based GeoVax by the National Institutes of Health-National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Disease, an agency of the U.S. government. (more…)

SC Launch Investing in 3 Client Companies
COLUMBIA, SC - SC Launch, an SCRA affiliate, today announced that three client companies will receive investments in undisclosed amounts for their continuing projects. Greenville-based Dannar, Columbia-based Senex Biotechnology and Charleston-based Madeira Therapeutics will each receive SC Launch funds after presentation to and subsequent approval by the SC Launch Board of Directors. (more…)

SEBIO NEWS

Ten Semifinalists Selected in SEBIO’s Fifth Annual BIO/Plan Competition
ATLANTA, GA - Southeast BIO announced that it has selected ten semifinalists in its fifth annual BIO/Plan Competition. Established to promote the creation of new life science companies and the development of exceptional corporate partnering opportunities in the Southeast U.S., the BIO/Plan Competition targets technology transfer offices and entrepreneurs throughout the region to bring forward opportunities from leading Southeastern research universities and centers. (more…)

SEBIO Announces 2011 Investor Forum Keynote Speakers
ATLANTA, GA - The Thirteenth Annual Southeast BIO Investor Forum, scheduled for November 2-3, 2011 at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, NC, will feature keynote speakers, PPD Inc. Executive Chairman, Fred Eshelman and Patheon Inc. CEO, Jim Mullen. (more…)

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