Life sciences briefing: Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007

(UPDATED: Expanded items on LineaGen, BG Medicine. Pelikan Tech is described in a standalone item here.)

TODAY’S HEADLINES:

Utah’s LineaGen draws $6M for genetic diagnostics — LineaGen (no Web site), a Salt Lake City biotech focused on genetic diagnostics, raised $6 million in a first round of funding, VentureWire reports. Investors included
Sanderling Ventures, vSpring Capital and Mesa Verde Partners.

The company aims to identify genomic markers — presumably the single-letter DNA variations known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms — for a variety of diseases, including autism, multiple sclerosis, cancer and lung disease. LineaGen is using detailed databases on Utah’s predominately Mormon population, which keeps careful genealogical records, to identify markers that it can then turn into diagnostic tests for those conditions.

A variety of other companies have been embarked on similar projects, most notably DeCode Genetics, which has been conducting genetic analyses on the Icelandic population for years. VentureWire notes that Genzion Biosciences has been doing the same for French Canadians.BG Medicine drops IPO price range, seeks up to $52M — Waltham, Mass.-based BG Medicine, a developer of molecular diagnostics, dropped its IPO price range and now plans to raise no more than $52 million. The company, which had previously sought to offer up to 5.2 million shares at a price between $14 and $16, now aims for a price between $8 and $10. Its latest SEC filing is here.

The company’s setback is but the latest in its unusual IPO history. It first reported plans to go public on Amsterdam’s EuroNext exchange, then apparently scrapped that idea and filed to list on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. At its previously price range, BG Medicine stood to raise as much as $83 million, so its latest decision represents a fairly significant haircut to its earlier hopes.