Life sciences briefing: Friday, Nov. 9, 2007

Featured companies: Antisense Pharma, Arteriocyte, Excelimmune, Fluxion Biosciences

UPDATED: Expanded items on Antisense Pharma, Arteriocyte, and Excelimmune.

antisense-pharma-logo.jpgAntisense Pharma raises €27M for cancer drugs — Munich’s Antisense Pharma, a biotech developing gene-silencing drugs against cancer, raised €27 million ($38 million) in a fourth funding round. The company’s PDF release is here.

MIG provided the funding, which the company said will support late-stage trials of its lead drug candidate, AP 12009, in brain cancer. AP 12009 is an “antisense” drug, one that blocks the activity of malfunctioning genes. Although long a promising way of attacking a variety of diseases, only one antisense drug has ever been approved, and most scientists believe that it doesn’t actually work via gene silencing. Antisense Pharma, however, says that AP 12009 showed positive results in a mid-stage trial.

Excelimmune raises $2M for cancer, infection antibodies — Cambridge, Mass.-based ExcelImmune, a biotech developing “polyclonal” antibodies for fighting cancer and infection, raised $2 million in a first funding round, VentureWire reports (subscription required). Greenheart provided the funding.

Many top-selling biotech drugs these days are monoclonal antibodies, which are genetically engineered to bind to a single target, such as a surface protein on cancer cells. Excelimmune, by contrast, focuses on polyclonal antibodies — essentially a mix of different antibodies that bind to different targets. Polyclonal antibodies are a major part of the body’s immune system, but no one has ever successfully developed polyclonal-antibody drugs. The company said the new funding will allow it to develop new polyclonal antibodies against an unspecified target, and that it will raise a second round next year to forward a candidate into animal tests.

arteriocyte-logo.jpgArteriocyte acquires product, forms partnership with Medtronic — Arteriocyte, a Cleveland medical-device maker, struck a partnership with Medtronic that includes the acquisition of Medtronics’ Magellan platelet business. The release is here.

OTHER HEADLINES OF NOTE:

  • Tool developer Fluxion Biosciences raises $6.9M (PE Hub)