Featured companies: Imalux, Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Sequel Pharmaceuticals, Sinexus, TranS1, U.S. Spinal Technologies

Sagent Pharmaceuticals draws in $53M for injectable generics — Sagent Pharmaceuticals, proving that there’s still life in the apparently lucrative but boring specialty-pharmaceuticals business, raised $53 million in a first funding round. Vivo Ventures led the round for the Schaumburg, Ill., company.

Like other specialty pharmas, Sagent essentially picks up abandoned or cast-off drugs from other companies and tries to make them work in new ways. The company plans to take its first product to market in the fourth quarter, VentureWire reports (subscription required).

From VentureWire:

Schaumburg, Ill.-based Sagent focuses on the development of injectable treatments. The company’s core strength is generic pharmaceuticals, Yu said, and it has a broad-based focus on injectable treatments for a variety of indications. Sagent currently has more than 200 products in development, and plans to launch its first injectable treatment, which has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, in the fourth quarter. For the commercialization, Sagent plans to draw on the 20 business partnerships the company has worked to establish, Pauli said.

NovaCardia spinoff Sequel Pharma draws on $20M for heart drug — Fresh from the sale of NovaCardia to Merck (see our coverage here), officials of that heart-drug company founded a second startup, San Diego’s aptly named Sequel Pharmaceuticals, and raised $20 million in a first funding round. Investors included Domain Associates, Forward Ventures, InterWest Partners, Montreux Equity Partners, and Skyline Ventures.

Sequel owns the rights to one of NovaCardia’s former drugs, which it intends to develop as a treatment for atrial fibrillation, a problem characterized by uncoordinated pumping and electrical activity in the heart’s upper chambers that can put people at risk of blood clots and strokes. The company also plans to develop novel drugs for its pipeline.

us-spine-logo.jpgU.S. Spinal Tech to seek $20 million — Boca Raton, Fla.-based U.S. Spinal Technologies said it plans to solicit $20 million in third-round funding, VentureWire reports. The company has begun speaking to investors but hasn’t yet received any money.

So far, the company has raised $9 million, 40 percent of that from angels and the remainder from other individuals. U.S. Spine makes several spinal implants that are already on the market, but a flagship device designed to replace the “pedicle screws” that serve as anchor points for rods in spinal fusion is stilll under development.

Sinexus raises $3.5M for sinusitis devices — Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sinexus raised $3.5 million in a first funding round, PE Hub reports, citing a regulatory filing. Investors included Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Buyers and U.S. Venture Partners. The medical-device company is focused on treating chronic inflammation of the nasal passages.

As it turns out, Sinexus also received seed funding in 2003 from Durect, a company that makes drug-delivery technologies. According to this 10-K filed with the SEC, Durect and an unnamed venture-capital firm each loaned Sinexus $150,000; Durect repurchased the obligation from Sinexus in February 2006.

Medical imager Imalux pulls in $5.1M — Cleveland’s Imalux, a developer of optical-tomography imaging systems, raised $5.1 million in a third funding round. The proceeds include the conversion of $2.5 million in bridge financing. Early Stage Partners, ElectroSonics Medical, Reservoir Venture Partners, Symark, and more than twenty other prior and new investors participated in the round.

Spinal-device maker TranS1 sets IPO range, aims to raise up to $88.6M — Wilmington, N.C.-based TranS1, a developer of minimally invasive spinal-fusion devices, said it plans to price its IPO shares between $12 and $14 apiece, yielding a maximum possible take of $88.6 million. See our earlier coverage of TranS1’s IPO here.