Life sciences briefing: Friday, Oct. 19, 2007

Featured companies: DirectFlow, Direvo, Indigo Biosystems, MacroGenics

direct-flow-medical-logo.jpgDirect Flow raises $27M for heart-valve implants — Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Direct Flow Medical, a startup developing heart implants, raised $27 million in a second funding round. Investors included Johnson & Johnson Development, Foundation Medical Partners, VantagePoint Venture Partners, ePlanet, EDF Ventures, New Leaf Venture Partners and Spray Venture Partners.

Direct Flow makes minimally invasive aortic-valve replacements for the heart. This particular field happens to be booming — we’ve previously covered competitors JenaValve, AorTx and Sadra.

macrogenics-logo.jpgMacroGenics signs Eli Lilly pact worth initial $43M for autoimmune disease — MacroGenics, a Rockville, Md., biotech developing antibody-based therapies for autoimmune disease, signed a partnership with Eli Lilly that could be worth more than $600 million. MacroGenics is working on antibodies designed to tamp down autoimmune responses by inducing tolerance to antigens that might otherwise promote strong immune reactions to the body’s own cells. The company’s first drug candidate targets diabetes — specifically “type one” diabetes that results when the immune system targets insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

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