Life sciences briefing: Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007

Featured companies: American TeleCare, Gliknik, Juvaris BioTherapeutics, Medsphere Systems, Primera Biosystems

UPDATED: Expanded items on Juvaris, Medsphere, Primera, American TeleCare and Gliknik. Moved Broncus Tech and Aegerion Pharma items to an IPO roundup here.Vaccine maker Juvaris Bio raises $12M, aims for $30M more — According to VentureWire (subscription required), this Pleasanton, Calif., vaccine maker raised $12 million in its first funding round. That appears to contradict an earlier item from PE Hub that said Juvaris BioTherapeutics had raised $16 million, according to a regulatory filing. The VentureWire story, however, is based on an interview with the Juvaris CEO, so we’ll run with that for now.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers provided the funding. Juvaris is developing vaccines against cancer and infectious disease using “adjuvants” — composed of DNA complexes and fatty molecules known as lipids — that stimulate immune responses. For additional coverage of the company, see here.

Juvaris also aims to raise another $30 million early next year to launch four clinical trials. Those trials will involve vaccines for influenza, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and acute myeloid leukemia.

medsphere-logo.jpgHealth-IT developer Medsphere raises $9M — Medsphere Systems, an Aliso Viejo, Calif., developer of open-source healthcare-IT systems, raised $9 million toward a third funding round, VentureWire reports. The company previously said it will target a $15 million round.

Existing investors Thomas Weisel Venture Partners, Azure Capital and Wasatch Venture Fund provided the funding, although Medsphere plans to bring new investors into the round as well. Medsphere has so far raised $16 million in equity and bridge loans, according to VentureWire.

The new fundraising is a sign that the once-troubled company may be turning itself around. Medsphere, which is developing a version of the VA’s electronic medical-record system VistA, recently settled a lawsuit the company had filed against its co-founding brothers that stemmed from a dispute over open-source software. Our previous coverage is here and here.

primera-biosystems.gifGene analyzer Primera Biosystems pulls in $2.5M — Primera Biosystems, a Mansfield, Mass., developer of gene-activity analysis systems, raised $2.5 million in a second tranche of its first funding round, VentureWire reports, citing a regulatory filing. Investors included Malaysian Technology Development Corp., Burrill & Co. and MPM Capital.

Primera’s system combines two technologies — real-time PCR and microarray analysis — for use in basic research and clinical applications such as measuring viral load and drug resistance. The company last raised $11 million in 2005.

Remote healthcare-device maker American TeleCare raises $1.6M — American TeleCare, an Eden Prairie, Minn., maker of communication devices and technology for remote healthcare monitoring, raised $1.6 million from angel investors, VentureWire reports. The company has previously raised $16 million from angels.

From VentureWire: “American TeleCare provides technology and devices to help monitor patients with chronic conditions. The company’s products include audio, video and monitoring technology, including a telephonic stethoscope, with the aim of improving communication of patient information across the healthcare industry.”

Stealthy drug developer Gliknik raises $1.2M — Gliknik, a stealthy drug developer in Ruxton, Md., raised $1.2 million in seed funding, VentureWire reports. The company has drug candidates for cancer and autoimmune disease, although none are in human tests yet.