Life sciences briefing: Friday, Nov. 2, 2007

Featured companies: Ascent Therapeutics, Bas Medical, Bikam Pharmaceuticals, Fundamental Applied Biology, Juvaris BioTherapeutics, Medavante, Trivitron, Vapotherm

UPDATED: Expanded items on Bas Medical and Juvaris.Bas Medical raises $20M for heart-failure drug — San Mateo, Calif.-based Bas Medical, a biotech developing drugs based on a hormone called relaxin, raised $20 million in a third funding round, VentureWire reports (subscription required). Investors included Domain Associates, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sears Capital Management.

Relaxin is a natural peptide hormone whose levels typically rise during pregnancy, boosting heart and kidney function. Bas Medical figures that the hormone may be useful in treating disorders such as acute heart failure and preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication involving high blood pressure and kidney failure. The company is currently carrying out mid-stage human tests of the peptide in both conditions.

Bas Medical also announced that it hired Stan Abel as its new CEO. Abel previously served as CFO for both Peninsula Pharmaceuticals and its spinout, Cerexa.

Juvaris logoJuvaris BioTherapeutics takes in $16M for immunotherapy — Juvaris BioTherapeutics, a Pleasanton, Calif., biotech developing new vaccines and immunity boosters, raised $15.9 million in a first funding round, PE Hub reports. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round, which involved $13.8 million in equity and the remainder in debt and convertible notes.

Juvaris is developing vaccines against infectious disease and cancer using adjuvants — substances that enhance immune response, and thus the activity of vaccines — made from complexes formed by out of complexes of DNA and fatty molecules called lipids. We previously covered the company here.

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