Life sciences briefing: Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2007

Featured companies: AngioScore, Forsight Labs, Genoptix, Metastatix, Optherion, QLT

UPDATED: See below.

angioscore-logo.jpgArtery opener AngioScore pulls in $30M — AngioScore, a Fremont, Calif., maker of balloon catheters used to open up clogged arteries, raised $30 million in a fifth funding round. Investors included Telegraph Hill Partners, Psilos Group Management, QuestMark Partners, L.P., UV Partners, California Technology Ventures and Innomed Ventures.

AngioScore’s balloon catheters, which inflate inside blocked blood vessels to restore blood flow, are designed to overcome problems that sometimes occur during traditional angioplasty procedures. Conventional angioplasty can lead to tears and splits in the plaque that lines blocked arteries and can damage arterial walls as well. AngioScore claims its new catheter overcomes this problem by making precise cuts, or “scores,” in the plaque, thereby reducing the chance that it will crack and split unpredictably.

Optherion raises $37M for macular degeneration — New Haven, Conn.-based Optherion, a biotech focused on new treatments for forms of the eye condition macular degeneration, raised $37 million in a first funding round. Investors included Quaker BioVentures, Domain Associates, Johnson & Johnson Development, Purdue Pharmaceutical Products, Pappas Ventures, Biogen Idec New Ventures and GE Healthcare Financial Services.

Optherion is developing drugs that affect the “alternative complement pathway,” an arm of the immune system that may be implicated in two forms of macular degeneration, an eye condition that can lead to partial blindness, and possibly other autoimmune disorders as well. The company was founded in 2005 following discoveries that linked the alternative-complement system to macular degeneration.

metastatix-logo.gifMetastatix draws $35M for low-side-effect drugs — Atlanta’s Metastatix, a biotech working on drugs for AIDS, cancer and inflammatory disease, raised $35 million in a second financing round. Investors included Frazier Healthcare, H.I.G. Ventures, the Aurora Funds, CM Capital, SR One, MedImmune Ventures, Georgia Venture Partners, Centrosome Ventures and the State of Georgia.

Metastatix is developing drugs that block a cellular receptor called CXCR4, which is best known as one of the two ways HIV can enter and infect cells. CXCR4 may also be involved in cancer and inflammation. Metastatix says it is particularly focused on drug candidates with the “fewest possible side effects.”

forsight-labs-logo.jpgOptical-device incubator Forsight Labs sells unnamed “newco” to QLT for $42M+ — Forsight Labs, an incubator for optical-device companies backed by Morgenthaler Ventures, Split Rock Partners and Versant Ventures, agreed to sell its second, unnamed startup to QLT for $42 million plus milestone payments that could be worth $25 million or more. The startup, known only as ForSight NewCo II, has developed a new type of ocular drug-delivery system that could potentially be used to treat a variety of conditions including glaucoma. The release describing the deal is here.

genoptix-logo.jpgDiagnostic-services company Genoptix sets IPO terms, aims for $92M — The Carlsbad, Calif., provider of cancer and blood-disease diagnostic services, said it plans to sell up to 5.75 million shares at a price of $14 to $16 apiece, for a maximum possible take of $92 million. The company’s SEC filing is here. We covered the company in some detail at the time of its IPO filing here.

UPDATE: Added items on Metastatix and Optherion.