Featured companies: Entelos, Firstsource Solutions, Helixis, Iconix Biosciences, MedAssist Holding, Songbird Hearing

entelos-logo.jpgEntelos pays up to $39M for Iconix Biosciences — In a rare all-Bay Area biotech transaction, Foster City, Calif.’s Entelos agreed to acquire Iconix Biosciences for up to $39.1 million in stock. The deal consists of an up-front payment of $14.1 million in Entelos shares and a potential “earn out payment” of $25 million if certain financial milestones are met. The acquisition is scheduled to close tomorrow.

Entelos develops computer models of disease intended to assist in the identification of drug candidates and early analysis of their effectiveness. Iconix, meanwhile, has focused on building “toxicogenomic” reference information, which details the genetic profiles that are most likely to lead to toxic side effects when a particular drug is used. Entelos president James Karis said in a statement that the combination will create “a new paradigm for discovering and developing drugs” by making it possible to also predict whether certain drug candidates may cause toxic side effects.

Iconix had raised a total of more than $50 million prior to the acquisition, according to VentureWire (subscription required). Its investors included Abingworth Management, Institutional Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and MDS Pharma Services.

helixis-logo.jpgNewly formed Helixis raises $10M for diagnostics — Helixis, a Carlsbad, Calif., developer of “low cost, fast and accurate” molecular diagnostics, raised $10 million in a first funding round. The funding was provided by Domain Associates and Okapi Venture Capital.

Helixis makes some grand but fairly vague claims in its announcement. The company has licensed technology from Caltech, but doesn’t say what it is, and claims that it will “radically reduce” the cost, size and power requirements of existing diagnostic technology. This appears to be a reference to existing diagnostics that require large and expensive equipment such as PCR machines for analysis. All in all, this sounds like a worthy effort — if diagnostic tests remain expensive, that will greatly limit their usefulness in pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine — but the company will need to be clearer about what it’s actually up to before I can get too excited about it.

montreuxe-logo.jpgMontreux Equity Partners raises fourth fund — Montreux Equity Partners, a life-sciences focused VC firm in Menlo Park, Calif., is raising a fourth fund, VentureWire reports. The news service cited the Santa Barbara County Employees’ Retirement System, which has approved a $5 million investment in the new fund. Montreux reportedly declined to comment on the new fund’s expected size, although two preceding funds raised a total of $170 million. Montreux invests primarily in biotech and medical-device companies.

Shaky Songbird Hearing reportedly raises $4M in recapitalization — VentureWire reports that Songbird Hearing, a New Brunswick, N.J., maker of disposable hearing devices, has raised $4 million in a recapitalization funding. The news service names NewSpring Capital and the Provco Group as investors in the round.

The company apparently has a long and somewhat shaky history. VentureWire says this is Songbird’s second recapitalization — essentially a restructuring of a company’s debt and equity relationships — and that it had previously raised $120 million since its founding in 1997. There’s also the fact that Songbird’s supposed Web site currently features a “coming soon” page for the “Planet Sun Tanning Salon” in Manahawkin, N.J. (You can see Songbird’s cached page here.)

In any case, the VentureWire story says the fresh capital will pay for a redesign of the companies products and for day-to-day operations.

medassist-logo.jpgMedAssist Holding, a hospital-finance consultant, sold to Indian outsourcing firm for $330M — The private-equity firm RoundTable Healthcare Partners agreed to sell MedAssist Holding to an affiliate of Mumbai-based Firstsource Solutions for $330 million in cash. MedAssist helps hospitals clean up their financial operations, a task the company calls “outsourced revenue-cycle management services.” Firstsource is a major Indian outsourcing firm that handles a variety of “back-end” business operations for its customers.

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