San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: MEI Pharma, Turning Point, & More

Posted by |2019-07-02T03:30:09-08:00June 28th, 2019|

It was a relatively quiet week in the San Diego life sciences community, but local companies and organizations continue working away. Here’s a look at some recent developments, including companies moving their lead drug candidates into Phase 2 trials, new R&D partnerships, and a reminder to nominate your favorite young’un for a Biocom Catalyst award. […]

Amunix Taps Five Prime’s Irving for Chief Scientific Officer Role

Posted by |2019-06-27T08:51:30-08:00June 27th, 2019|

Bryan Irving has joined Amunix Pharmaceuticals as chief scientific officer, the same postion he held at Five Prime Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FPRX). Irving’s experience also includes posts at CytomX and Genentech. Mountain View, CA-based Amunix is developing protein-based therapies for cancer and other diseases.

Sequencing Firm Adaptive’s $300M IPO Comes With Pharma Ambitions

Posted by |2019-06-26T21:17:55-08:00June 26th, 2019|

If biotech’s historic bull run is losing steam, as some observers believe, this week is one hell of a final stampede. Adaptive Biotechnologies of Seattle just raised $300 million. BridgeBio Pharma of Palo Alto, CA, has topped it, raising $348.5 million. Both begin trading Thursday. The combined haul is a remarkable sum, more than 2 […]

Encoded Nabs $104M, Illumina’s Help, to Push Gene Therapy’s Limits

Posted by |2019-06-26T01:55:13-08:00June 26th, 2019|

Despite the progress of gene therapy—a cutting edge medicine promising long-lasting effects from a single treatment—it remains a crude and limited tool. Startup Encoded Therapeutics has raised $104 million to join the race to expand gene therapy’s reach. The South San Francisco, CA, company has emerged from the startup accelerator of Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN), and […]

Conatus to Slash Staff, Consider Sale After NASH Trial Failures

Posted by |2019-06-24T20:14:44-08:00June 24th, 2019|

Conatus Pharmaceuticals said Monday that it would cut its staff by 40 percent and consider a sale or merger after a drug it was testing as a treatment for an increasingly common form of chronic liver disease failed to beat a placebo in a mid-stage clinical trial—the latest letdown in a number of trial failures. […]

Locana, Fueled With $55M, Looks to Develop Fixes for Faulty RNA

Posted by |2019-06-24T03:30:09-08:00June 21st, 2019|

Editing human DNA has entered the public consciousness in a big way in recent years with its increasing use in laboratories—and, in recent news that shocked the scientific community, in embryos—of tools such as CRISPR-Cas9. Locana, a gene therapy biotech in San Diego, is taking what it describes as a “parallel path” to developing therapeutics […]

Ultragenyx Pharma Promotes Erik Harris to Chief Commercial Officer

Posted by |2019-06-20T08:36:54-08:00June 20th, 2019|

Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ: RARE) has promoted Erik Harris to executive vice president and chief commercial officer. Harris joined the Novato, CA-based rare disease drugs developer in 2017 as senior vice president, head of North American commercial operations. His experience also includes posts at Crescendo Bioscience and Intermune. Last year, Ultragenyx won FDA approval for burosumab […]

Oncolytics Bio Tacks On Cancer Combo Study with Merck KGaA, Pfizer

Posted by |2019-06-19T19:56:25-08:00June 19th, 2019|

There’s a speed dating game of sorts happening as pharmaceutical companies that have approved cancer immunotherapies are testing their medications in combination with experimental drugs in hopes of reaching more patients. San Diego’s Oncolytics Biotech (NASDAQ: ONCY) has been an active participant in those combination efforts, with multiple pharmaceutical companies pairing its lead drug candidate, […]

Stoke Therapeutics Upsizes IPO, Raises $142M for Dravet Drug R&D

Posted by |2019-06-18T18:14:09-08:00June 18th, 2019|

Stoke Therapeutics is the latest biotech company to debut on Wall Street, raising $142 million to test an experimental therapy for a rare form of epilepsy. Stoke does not yet have any human data to show investors, but the Bedford, MA, company was still able to sell more shares than it planned—and at a higher […]

Invitae Offers $55M for Singular Bio to Expand Prenatal Test Business

Posted by |2019-06-17T10:08:28-08:00June 17th, 2019|

Invitae, a maker of a wide array of low-cost genetic medical tests, has reached a deal to acquire Singular Bio to expand its ability to screen babies for disease during the early months of pregnancy. Invitae (NYSE: NVTA) said Monday it will pay $55 million in cash and stock to acquire privately held Singular Bio. […]

Unum Therapeutics Appoints Jessica Sachs Chief Medical Officer

Posted by |2019-06-17T03:30:08-08:00June 14th, 2019|

Unum Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UNRX) has promoted Jessica Sachs to chief medical officer. Sachs has served as vice president of clinical sciences at the Cambridge, MA, drug developer since 2017. Her experience also includes positions at Takeda Pharmaceutical (NYSE: TAK). Sachs, who will start her new role on July 15, is succeeding Michael Vasoncelles, who has left […]

Can AI Tools, $76M Lead BlackThorn to Targeted Psych Drugs?

Posted by |2019-06-13T04:25:31-08:00June 13th, 2019|

It’s notoriously tough for experimental psychiatric drugs to succeed in clinical tests. BlackThorn Therapeutics wants to show that an AI-driven, precision approach can make it easier, and today it’s added another $76 million to get the chance to prove it. The new Series B round will give San Francisco-based BlackThorn—a startup spun out of the […]
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