Featured companies: Advanced Bio-Surfaces, Ambit Biosciences, EnteroMedics, Molecular Vision, Skyline Ventures

UPDATED: Expanded items on Skyline Ventures, Ambit, and Molecular Vision, and moved EnteroMedics to a new item here.

Skyline Ventures raises $350M life-sciences fund — Skyline Ventures, a Palo Alto, Calif., VC firm, closed a $350 million fund for healthcare and life-sciences investments. The fund is Skyline’s fifth.

Skyline is unquestionably coming off a hot streak. As it notes in its release, three of its portfolio companies were acquired this year — Avidia, by Amgen; NimbleGen, by Roche; and NovaCardia, by Merck (the links point to our coverage). Four of its portfolio companies — Hansen Medical, Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Map Pharmaceuticals and Targanta Pharmaceuticals — went public, of which two were big hits: Hansen is up 142 percent and Sirtris 70 percent. (Map is up 13 percent and Targanta is still down 7.5 percent.)

Skyline said it will continue to invest in a mix of early, mid- and later stage companies. The firm is targeting about 15 investments of about $15 million to $35 million per startup.

Cancer-drug maker Ambit Biosciences draws $49M — San Diego’s Ambit Biosciences, a biotech focused on new cancer drugs, raised $49.3 million in a fourth funding round. The company’s drugs block a class of signaling proteins called kinases, a technique that has yielded at least one major cancer drug — Gleevec, used to treat a form of leukemia.

Ambit’s leading drug candidate, a drug for a different form of leukemia, just got off the ground in April, so it will still be some time before anyone knows if its “discovery engine” for kinase inhibitors is yielding good drugs. That hasn’t deterred a number of biotech/pharma VC arms from investing in the latest round, including MedImmune Ventures, Roche Venture Fund and NovaQuest (an arm of Quintiles). Other investors include Apposite Capital, OrbiMed Advisors, Radius Ventures, Horizon Technology Finance, Perseus-Soros Biopharmaceutical Fund, Forward Ventures, Avalon Ventures, GIMV, Jov-CMDF, and Genechem.

EnteroMedics, obesity-device maker, almost halves IPO price target — This item has been expanded and moved here.

U.K.’s Molecular Vision acquired by Acrongenomics — Molecular Vision, a London developer of credit-card sized diagnostic devices, was acquired by Acrongenomics of Geneva for an undisclosed sum. Acrongenomics appears to be a grab-bag company that acquires promising life-science technologies and then brings them to market. The release is here.

Acrongenomics previously held a joint development agreement with Molecular Vision. Our previous coverage of Molecular Vision is here.



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