Life sciences briefing: Friday, Oct. 5, 2007

Featured companies: Gilde Healthcare Partners, Konanda Pharma Partners, Healthvision, OrbiMed, Quovadx, Serentis, Surface, Visiopharm

Danish microscopy company Visiopharm gets funding — Copenhagen’s Visiopharm, a developer of image-analysis hardware and software for microscopy, raised an undisclosed sum from Northcap Partners. The company was founded in 2001.

Konanda Pharma Partners to raise $300M life-science fund — The new New York-based venture-capital fund tells VentureWire (subscription required) that it is looking to put together a $300 million fund to invest in approved but “underutilized” drugs. Konanda initially plans to launch companies that around approved drugs that they believe could benefit from greater attention.

Konanda has funded one company to date, Validus Pharmaceuticals, which purchased the antidepressant Marplan from Oxford Pharmaceutical Services and, last month, acquired a bipolar-disorder treatment from Shire.

Tanox co-founder Nancy Chang joins Orbimed as Asia adviser — Nancy Chang, co-founder and former CEO of the Houston biotech Tanox — since acquired by Genentech for $919 million — has joined Orbimed Advisors as a managing director to help expand the firm’s investments in Asian life-science companies. Chang is a native of Taiwan. Orbimed also named Jonathan Wang, most recently general manager of Burrill & Co.’s Greater China Group, as a managing director. The Orbimed release is here (PDF).

Specialty pharma Serentis acquires dermatology-drug maker Surface Therapeutics — Cambridge, U.K.-based Serentis, a specialty pharma focused on dermatology and wound-care products, acquired Surface Therapeutics, a U.K. biotech developing new treatments for atopic dermatitis. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed; the release is here.

Healthcare IT firm Quovadx acquires Healthvision — Dallas-based Quovadx, a developer of IT systems for hospitals and health insurers, agreed to acquire Healthvision, an Irving, Tex., builder of “intelligent information exchanges.” Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed; the release is here. Still not sure exactly what Healthvision does? Well, in the company’s own words, it provides “integrated marketing strategies and solutions that include targeted marketing, patient acquisition programs, Web site design and development, and the tools that drive these solutions.” Glad we could clear that up for you.

Gilde Healthcare Partners closes €150M venture fund — The Dutch venture-capital firm raised €150 million ($211.8 million) for its second life-sciences venture fund. Gilde has already exited its first investment from that fund — Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics, which went public in June.