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Featured companies: Acceleron Pharma, AdvanDx, Altheus Therapeutics, BiPar Sciences, Coventina Healthcare Enterprises, ForteBio, Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, Mako Surgical, Nile Therapeutics, Novate Medical

[NOTE: This briefing was posted on Friday, 9/21/07; I’ve edited its timestamp to preserve chronological order among the briefings.]

Nile Therapeutics raises $20M, goes public in reverse merger — Berkeley, Calif.-based Nile Therapeutics, a developer of cardiovascular drugs, raised $20 million from new and existing investors and carried out a reverse merger that takes the company public. Investors in the financing included Wexford Capital, RIT Capital Partners, Life Science Capital Master Fund, and other institutional investors. It’s not clear if Nile had raised venture capital prior to this funding.

Nile is at work on a second generation “natriuretic peptide,” which is basically a protein fragment that mimics the function of natural diuretics found in the heart. Nile licensed that drug from the Mayo Clinic; it’s now in early-stage human testing. Nile intends to acquire additional experimental drugs to expand its portfolio.

advandx-logo.jpgAdvanDx pulls in $15M for pathogen diagnostics — AdvanDx, a Woburn, Mass., biotech that develops molecular diagnostic tests for identifying infectious pathogens in hospitals, raised $15 million in a third funding round. Investors included bioMérieux, LD Pensions and SLS Venture.

The company’s diagnostic tests can supposedly identify the microbes responsible for bloodstream infections in hours rather than days, as current culturing tests require. The time saved can make it possible to effectively treat patients much sooner. In that sense, AdvanDx’s technology is similar to that of OpGen, which we wrote about in the first item here.

novate-logo.jpgNovate Medical draws in €4M for anti-clot device — Ireland’s Novate Medical, a device maker at work on filters that can be installed in veins to prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs and causing pulmonary embolisms, raised €4 million ($5.5 million). Investors included ACT Venture Capital, Seroba BioVentures and Enterprise Ireland.

The company doesn’t appear to have a Web site.

ganymed-logo.jpgAntibody company Ganymed adds €3.5M to round — Germany’s Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, a developer of monoclonal-antibody drugs for cancer, added €3.5 million ($4.9 million) to its third funding round, bringing that total to €37.2 million ($52.1 million). The additional funding was provided by ATS Beteiligungsverwaltung of Munich.

altheus-logo.jpgAltheus Therapeutics gets $3.6 million against bowel disease — Oklahoma City’s Altheus Therapeutics, a biotech working on new treatments for inflammatory bowel disease, raised $3.6 million to fund clinical trials. St. Louis-based Prolog Ventures, the Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund and Oklahoma Equity Partners provided the funding.

Altheus is developing a treatment that combines two existing drugs, which the company hasn’t identified.

coventina_logo.jpgCoventina Healthcare Enterprises gets $150K, moves to Pennsylvania — The seemingly ubiquitous Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse has struck again, investing $150,000 in Coventina Healthcare Enterprises, which then relocated to southwestern Pennsylvania from Texas. Coventina recently acquired the assets of Texas-based Selicor, and now develops therapeutic heating systems that rely on radio-frequency energy.

mako-surgical-logo.jpgMako Surgical seeks an $86M IPO for knee-surgery robots — The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., company filed to raise up to $86 million in an initial offering. Mako’s robotic-surgery device and knee implants are designed to perform minimally invasive knee operations.

Brownian motion: Personnel moves in the life sciences —

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