Featured companies: Ablynx, Avant Immunotherapeutics, BioForm Medical, Celldex Therapeutics, Genomas, High-Throughput Genomics, Orchid Cellmark, ReliaGene Technologies, SarCode, TransMolecular, VisEn Medical

UPDATED: Expanded items on SarCode, Celldex/Avant and Ablynx.
UPDATE REDUX: Added items on BioForm Medical, High-Throughput Genomics and Orchid Cellmark/ReliaGene.

San Francisco’s SarCode draws down $7M for inflammation drugs — The two-year-old startup drew down $7 million as part of a $25 million first funding round the company arranged last December, VentureWire reports (subscription required). Investors in that round included Alta Partners and Clarus Ventures. The company’s post-investment valuation was $30 million in December.

SarCode is focused on developing new treatments for inflammation using technology it licensed from Sunesis Pharmaceuticals in January. The company can still draw another $13 million from its first round, and anticipates that existing funding will carry it through the end of 2009.

bioform-logo.jpgCosmetic-surgery product maker BioForm sets IPO range, aims for $127M — San Mateo, Calif.-based BioForm Medical, a developer of skin fillers and other cosmetic-procedure products, set its sights on an IPO that could raise up to $126.5 million. BioForm now aims to sell as many as 11.5 million shares at a price of $9 to $11 apiece. Should it come in at the high end of that range, the offering would value the company at almost $500 million.

See our previous coverage of BioForm, which sometimes touts itself as more of a medical-device company than one focused on “medical aesthetics,” in the first item here. The company’s main customers are plastic surgeons and dermatologists.

celldex-logo.jpgCelldex goes public with $67M Avant acquisition — Privately held Celldex Therapeutics acquired a majority stake in publicly traded Avant Immunotherapeutics for $66.7 million in stock. The release is here.

The deal effectively takes Celldex public via a form of reverse merger. Although the combined company will be known as Avant, Celldex shareholders will own 58 percent of it. Avant’s current CEO, Una Ryan, will remain in that position in the combined company, which will be worth an estimated $115 million following the merger. The new Avant will pursue a number of immune-related treatments for cancer, infectious disease and autoimmune disease.

high-throughput-genomics-logo.gifHigh-Throughput Genomics raises $10M for gene-expression tools — Tuscon’s High-Throughput Genomics, a biotech focused on tools that measure gene activity, raised $10 million in a third funding round. Investors included Merck Capital Ventures, Solstice Capital, Valley Ventures and Arcturus Capital.

HTS, founded a decade ago as a subsidiary of a combinatorial-chemistry company called Systems Integration Drug Discovery Company, spun out as an independent company in 2001. The company provides tools that let researchers study the activity of genes and proteins in laboratory samples.

ablynx-logo.gifAblynx aims at €99.2 million IPO for “mini-antibodies” from llama DNA — Belgium’s Ablynx, a biotech focused on developing new therapies using miniature antibody molecules derived from llama DNA, said it hopes to raise as much as €99.2 million ($141.5 million) in an IPO. (Its release is here.)

The offering will be launched on Eurolist by Euronext Brussels. You can find our previous coverage of the company here and here.


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