Life sciences briefing: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2007

TODAY’S HEADLINES:

5AM Ventures puts $3.3M into new immune-related startup – I’ve moved this item to a standalone post here.

NewLink Genetics raises $17M for cancer vaccine, immune drugs – I’ve moved the item to a standalone post here.

Biochip, stem-cell biotech Minerva Bio ousts CEO Jim Czirr and sues – This item is now a standalone post here.

Sonexa Therapeutics takes $30M for Alzheimer’s treatment – San Diego’s Sonexa Therapeutics (no Web site), a specialty pharma, raised $30 million in a first funding round. The proceeds will go toward licensing a so-far undisclosed compound from a Japanese pharmaceutical company that Solexa says is “being tested as a therapeutic to treat Alzheimer’s disease.”

Solexa will have worldwide rights to the experimental drug, excepting Japan and certain Asian countries. Investors in the round included Domain Associates, Scale Venture Partners, Alta Partners, AgeChem Venture Fund and MC Life Science Ventures.Tissue regenerator Healionics pulls in $1.7M – Redmond, Wash.-based Healionics, a device company focused on tissue regeneration and biomaterials, raised $1.7 million in a first funding round. Individual investors, including Carl Lombardi, the former CEO of SpaceLabs Medical, and Sam Naficy, the medical director of the Naficy Plastic Surgery & Rejuvenation Center, provided the funding.

Healionics is focused on a new class of biomaterials it calls STAR, for sphere-templated angiogenic regeneration. These STAR materials are designed for insertable or implantable medical devices that need to integrate smoothly with and promote healing of the body’s tissues. In particular, Healionics claims that the materials are specifically engineered with “tightly controlled pore geometry” that maximizes the growth of blood vessels and tissue entry while minimizing the body’s tendency to “wall off” implants with scar tissue.

The company, founded last March, says it has established “multiple partnerships” for advancing the development of its materials. Possible applications include diabetes, wound care and infusion therapy.

egeen-logo.gifEGeen, clinical research organization, receives $245K –EGeen, a contract research organization in Mountain View, Calif., raised $245,433 to expand its global operations, VentureWire reports. Ambient Sound Investments provided the funding.

EGeen conducts clinical trials for pharma and biotech companies in Estonia and other Eastern European nations. It has recently established a presence in the Ukraine and Romania. The company has previously raised $4.8 million in two funding rounds.

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