Life sciences briefing: Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2007

TODAY’S HEADLINES:

Teva acquires protein-therapeutic maker CoGenesys for $400M — CoGenesys, a Rockville, Md., protein-drug biotech spun out of Human Genome Sciences in 2006, has been acquired by Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for $400 million in cash. The companies’ joint release is here.

CoGenesys, like its former parent HGS, is focused on the development of protein and peptide drugs for a variety of conditions. The company’s two lead drug candidates aim to treat neutropenia, a depletion of white blood cells that puts people at risk of serious infection, and heart failure.

Teva said the acquisition advances its recently revised strategic goal of pursuing biotech drugs (“biopharmaceuticals”) and generic biologics (“biogenerics”). It’s not entirely clear whether Teva is interested in pursuing CoGenesys’ actual drug pipeline or simply putting its manufacturing technology to use in Teva’s existing international biogenerics business. No biogenerics have been approved for use in the U.S.

viewray-logo-150px.gifViewRay takes in $25M for MRI radiation-therapy guidance — Gainesville, Fla.-based ViewRay, a developer of MRI-based cancer-radiation systems, raised $25 million in a second funding round. Investors included OrbiMed Advisors, Fidelity Biosciences, Aisling Capital and Kearny Venture Partners.

ViewRay claims its system will be the first to offer real-time “volumetric” imaging of tumors concurrent with radiation treatment, which ostensibly allows radiation oncologists to compensate for organ movement. The funding will go for additional staff and the manufacture and validation of advanced prototypes of the system. Our previous coverage of the company is here.

novamed-logo150px.jpgNovaMed, Chinese clinical-research outfit, receives $14M — NovaMed, a Chinese startup that performs outsourced commercial and clinical-trial management for Chinese and international drug companies, raised $13.8 million in a second funding round. Investors included Fidelity Asia Ventures, its US affiliate, Fidelity Biosciences, and Atlas Venture.

Founded in 2005 by a former AstraZeneca executive and a Chinese Internet entrepreneur, NovaMed essentially acts as a middleman for companies with drugs they’d like to sell or test in China. Depending on the client, NovaMed says it will do everything from running clinical trials and shepherding drugs through the Chinese regulatory process to manufacturing, distributing and selling pharmaceuticals.

The company had previously raised roughly $6 million. NovaMed said it will use the new funding to expand its operations and also to in-license new drugs for deveopment or sale in China.

Lumidigm takes in $7M for optical-fingerprint ID systems — Lumidigm, an Albuquerque, N.M., developer of multispectral fingerprint scanners, raised $7 million in a third funding round, VentureWire reports, citing a regulatory filing. Investors included Epic Ventures led the round, joined by new investor Sun Mountain Capital and existing investors Fort Washington Capital Partners, Motorola Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson New England and Intel Capital. Lumidigm’s technology aims to read fingerprint information both from the skin surface and from subsurface layers to improve accuracy and foil attempts to spoof the technology.

Medical-software co. Compressus aims to close $14M round — Compressus, a Washington, D.C., software maker whose products link hospitals and doctors to government agencies for public-health monitoring and emergency response, is looking for an additional $1.3 million to close out a $14.3 million third funding round, VentureWire reports. The company, which was founded by three lobbyists, has so far raised more than $27 million from angel investors.

Channel Medical Partners aims for $150M med-tech fund — Channel Medical Partners, a Skokie, Ill., VC firm focused on medical-device investments, aims to raise a $150 million second fund, VentureWire reports. The new fund would be more than triple the size of its $40 million initial fund, raised in 2001. Channel aims to fund 12 to 15 startups with the new cash, and will concentrate on device firms, although it is open to investing in diagnostics, drug delivery and “specialty supply” companies as well.