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Waltham’s Dynatrace raises $4 Million January 17, 2011

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Waltham’s Dynatrace , a provider of application performance management software, raises $4 Million from a group of undisclosed investors.

Magen Biosciences, a Waltham, MA-based company focused on novel dermatology treatments, is acquired by the contract research firm PPD for $14.5 million December 18, 2010

Posted by HubTechInsider in Acquisitions, Biotech, Health Care IT, Pharmaceuticals, Startups.
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Magen Biosciences, a Waltham, MA-based company focused on novel dermatology treatments, will be acquired by the contract research firm PPD for $14.5 million. The firm was founded in 2006 by a well known group of biotech entrepreneuers and investors, including Rich Aldrich, founder of RA Capital, David Fisher, chief of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Christoph Westphal, co-founder of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals. Having raised $17 million in seed and Series A financing from a syndicate of backers including ARCH Venture Partners, TVM Capital, and IDG Ventures (now Flybridge Capital Partners), the purchase price is unlikely to result in an exit for Magen’s backers.

Back in 2008, Magen inlicensed for an undisclosed sum a number of derm compounds from Eli Lilly that showed positive anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative results in preclinical studies. It’s a good thing they did: those compounds were the primary reason for PPD’s interest in the biotech. The buy-out gives PPD an entrée into the specialist field of dermatology. In a press release announcing the news, PPD CEO Fred Eshelman noted that dermatologic treatments generally have a “more straightforward path to regulatory approval.” That’s certainly part of the logic behind moves of another specialist drug maker, Valeant, which is trying to brand itself as a derm power-house thanks to the recent acquisitions of Coria Laboratories, Dow, and DermaTech.

Novartis Option Fund leads a $30 million Series B financing round for Waltham’s Avila Therapeutics December 18, 2010

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Novartis Option Fund leads a $30 million Series B financing round for Waltham’s Avila Therapeutics.

In a deal that combines equity financing with an option on an early-stage research program, Novartis Option Fund led a $30 million Series B financing on July 27 for Avila Therapeutics, which uses its proprietary Avilomics platform to design and develop covalent drugs in the areas of cancer, autoimmune disease and viral infection (read a write-up from The Pink Sheet” DAILY, here). NOF is a $200 million fund that seeds innovative companies through initial and follow-on investments – the initial investment is coupled with a program option to provide early validation of the company’s technology. Avila says it will use the proceeds to advance its first program into clinical development – its lead programs are a protease inhibitor for hepatitis C (AVL181) and a molecule targeting the Btk kinase (AVL291), an emerging target in oncology and autoimmune disease.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company did not say which of those programs would advance to clinical development first, and neither company identified the therapeutic target of the program for which NOF has option rights. Avila says its drugs work through protein-silencing – the molecules’ covalent nature enables them to bond strongly, selectively and resiliently to disease-causing proteins, theoretically producing superior therapeutic outcomes. The drug candidates’ covalent bonding also makes them effective against mutations in disease targets, according to Avila.

Participating with NOF in the Series B were Avila’s original investors – Abingworth, Advent Venture Partners, Atlas Venture and Polaris Venture Partners. The four VC firms staked Avila with $21.3 million in Series A funding in 2007, and also made a convertible debt purchase this past May that initially brought Avila $5 million and eventually could yield $15 million.

Waltham based Affectiva, biosensor developer, raises $1.7 Million from a group of undisclosed investors November 16, 2009

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Waltham, MA -based Affectiva, developer of a biosensor that both measures and communicates the emotional arousal state of a human, raises $1.7 Million from a group of undisclosed investors.

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