Life sciences briefing: Wednesday, March 5, 2008

TODAY’S HEADLINES:

(NOTE: Sorry for the minimal posting yesterday — I was at the Health 2.0 conference with extremely limited Internet connectivity. Normal posting resumes today.)

Precision Thera merger with “blank check” Oracle Healthcare collapses – This item is now a standalone post here.Sleep Solutions takes in $21M for sleep-apnea diagnostics – Sleep Solutions, a Pasadena, Md., developer of diagnostic devices for sleep apnea, raised $20.5 million in a new funding round. Investors included TPG Biotechnology, MedVenture Associates, Emergent Ventures and Lava Ventures.

Sleep Solutions has developed a home-use diagnostic device for identifying sleep apnea, which are breathing difficulties during sleep. Diagnosing apnea has traditionally required patients to spend the night in a sleep laboratory. Left untreated, apnea can increase the risk of more serious problems, including stroke and heart attack.

Trevena takes in $24M for drugs targeting G-proteins – Trevena (no Web site), a Berwyn, Penn., biotech focused on a new area of drug discovery, raised $24 million in a first funding round. Investors included Alta Partners, Healthcare Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Polaris Venture Partners.

Like many biotechs, Trevena plans to develop drugs that attack a particular biological mechanism rather than any particular disease. In this case, the company is targeting a class of proteins known as G-protein coupled receptors, or GPCR, which according to the company are affected by close to 40 percent of all drugs on the market today. The company didn’t describe its plans in any detail.

EDF Ventures, an Ann Arbor, Mich., VC firm specializing in early-stage healthcare, has delayed a planned fourth fund, edf-ventures-logo-150px.gifHealthcare investor EDF Ventures postpones fourth fund – VentureWire reports. The postponement is related to the departure last year of managing director Beau Lasky, who left for Steamboat Ventures.

The firm intends to begin talking to potential investors again in several months. EDF didn’t say how much it hopes to raise in the new fund; its third fund closed in 2005 with $55 million in commitments.