Featured companies: Formac Pharmaceuticals, Pradama, Protein Sciences, SantoSolve, Scandius BioMedical

UPDATED: Expanded items on Protein Sciences, SantoSolve, Scandius and Pradama.

protein-sciences-logo.jpgVaccine maker Protein Sciences gets $1M — Protein Sciences, a Meriden, Conn., biotech working on a faster way to make flu vaccines, raised $1 million in a convertible-debt offering. Diamyd Medical, a Stockholm-based biotech focused on diabetes, provided the funding.

The funding boosts Diamyd’s total investment in Protein Sciences to $4 million. Conversion of its earlier investment made the Swedish company Protein Sciences’ second-largest shareholder. According to VentureWire (subscription required), Protein Sciences had previously raised $9 million since mid-2004. That doesn’t appear to count the company’s earlier incarnation as MicroGeneSys, a controversial AIDS-vaccine company that successfully lobbied Congress for federal funding to test its product in the early 1990s. (It failed, and the company appears to have largely started anew since then.)

Protein Sciences’ big claim to fame is its work on “recombinant” flu vaccines, which can be genetically engineered quickly instead of grown using whole flu virus in chicken eggs or animal cells. The jury is still out on whether recombinant vaccines really work well, despite periodic waves of hype; my coverage of the last one involving Protein Sciences is here. the U.S. biotech is also manufacturing proteins for Diamyd products such as a therapeutic diabetes vaccine.

scandius-logo.jpgSports-medicine specialist Scandius BioMed acquired by Covidien — Scandius BioMedical, a Littleton, Mass.-based medical-device startup focused on sports injuries, was acquired by Covidien, a publicly traded healthcare-products company in North Haven, Conn. The release is here; the companies didn’t disclose financial terms.

Scandius marketed several products for the reconstruction and healing of ligaments and bones that are often damaged in competitive athletics. According to the company’s Web site, it has raised $13.3 million in equity financing since its founding in 2000, with investors including Commerce Health Ventures, Ivy Healthcare Capital, KBL Healthcare Ventures and Stockton Partners.

Norway’s SantoSolve receives $7M for pain drugs — SantoSolve, an Oslo biotech working on a new class of pain drugs, raised $7 million in a new funding round. Investors included DnBNor, Gezina, Glastad Invest, Teknoinvest and InnovationsKapital.

SantoSolve, founded in 2002, said the funds would allow it to move its leading drug candidate, an arthritis pain drug called 2PX, into late-stage human testing. The company is also testing the drug against neuropathic pain.

pradama-logo.jpgOsteoporosis drug maker Pradama raises $1.2M — Louisville, Ky.-based Pradama, a biotech developing an oral drug for osteoporesis, raised $1.2 million in a first funding round, VentureWire reports. Investors included Kentucky Seed Capital Fund, Kentucky Science and Technology Corp., Triathlon Medical Ventures, Commonwealth Seed Capital and Cardinal Venture Fund.

From VentureWire:

Pradama, based in Louisville, Ky., is developing a means of targeting bone-building drugs for osteoporosis to the skeleton. To do this, it links anabolic therapies to a derivative of tetracycline that homes in on bone. One drug it’s considering using with the targeting technology is an estrogen derivative, Pierce said, though other undisclosed therapies are also being studied.