Life sciences briefing: Monday, Feb. 11, 2008

TODAY’S HEADLINES:

PolyRemedy, developer of robotic wound care, takes in $25M – Mountain View, Calif.-based PolyRemedy, a developer of systems that robotically manufacture wound dressings for patients, raised $25 million in a second funding round. Investors included Advanced Technology Ventures, IDG Ventures Boston, MedVenture Associates and Harris & Harris Group.

PolyRemedy has been keeping quiet about its work until now, but the company’s release lays out its strategy, which is to fabricate customized wound dressings at the “point of care” — here, apparently, doctors’ offices and home-care situations. The goal is to provide better treatment for chronic wounds such as diabetic ulcers, a common complication of diabetes that can manifest in the feet and other extremities as a result of nerve damage and poor blood circulation. The company claims its technology has been proven in clinical trials, but hasn’t provided any details.

bacchus-vascular-logo-150px.gifBacchus Vascular gets $15M for clot-busting device – Bacchus Vascular, a Santa Clara, Calif., developer of devices for local drug treatment of blood clots, raised $15 million in an extension of a recent recapitalization round, VentureWire reports. Investors included Vertical Group, Warburg Pincus, Kaiser Permanente Venture Development and Bacchus founder Thomas J. Fogarty.

Bacchus makes and markets a system it calls Trellis, which is a minimally invasive, catheter-based device consisting of two inflatable balloons and a “dispersion wire.” Physicians thread the catheter through the clot and inflate balloons at each end of it, then infuse a clot-busting drug directly into the clot. The dispersion wire then mechanically helps break up the clot, whose remains are then sucked out through the catheter. Bacchus is currently focused on deep-vein thrombosis, which are large clots usually located in the legs. Its device was approved in 2005, and the company intends to use the new funds to expand its marketing efforts.

Bacchus restarted with a $7.6 million recapitalization in June 2006 after apparently exhausting the patience of two initial investors, Three Arch Partners and De Novo Ventures, who haven’t participated in subsequent fundings. Prior to the recapitalization, Bacchus had raised $40 million, according to VentureWire.

modular-genetics-logo-150px.gifProtein-evolution company Modular Genetics gets $1.2M – Modular Genetics, a Cambridge, Mass., biotech that engineers new proteins with enhanced function, raised $1.2 million toward an expected $5 million fourth funding round, VentureWire reports. Individual investors provided the funding.

Modular makes a gene-engineering system it calls the CombiGenex that can shuffle and recombine genes in order to make modified or novel proteins. By making thousands of slightly different molecules and then screening for the ones with improved functions, Modular aims to “evolve” new proteins for therapeutic uses.

PharmatrophiX gets $300K for Alzheimer’s disease prevention drugs – San Francisco’s PharmatrophiX (no Web site), a biotech working on drugs that prevent neurodegenerative disease, received a $300,000 grant from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. Founded by Stanford researcher Frank Longo, PharmatrophiX is developing a class of drugs that mimic the activity of proteins called neurotrophins, which aid in the development, health and survival of neurons.

light-sciences-oncology-logo-150px.gifLight Sciences Oncology withdraws IPO – Bellevue, Wash.-based Light Sciences Oncology, a developer of light-activated chemotherapy, withdrew its $96.6 million IPO, citing “unfavorable market conditions.” Light Sciences becomes the seventh life-science startup to yank an IPO filing this year.

Light Sciences has kept hope alive for an awfully long time. The company originally filed its registration statement in April 2006, but hasn’t amended it since September of that year. Light Sciences raised $30 million in a second funding round last July, despite its still-active IPO registration.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this item misstated PolyRemedy’s systems as “robotically apply[ing] wound dressings.” I’ve restated that to match the description in the second paragraph, which accurately describes the systems.

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