Sunday, October 18, 2009

We’ve Moved! Come Visit Us at the New URL!

This is the final post for Colorado Life Science Deal Flow ( We have packed up and moved to the new and improved Life Science Deal Flow site ( If you have not yet clicked on over to the new site then you are missing out on the wine and cheese being served. While visiting the Life Science Deal Flow site be certain to renew your subscription – simply click on your preferred mode of delivery, i.e. email or RSS. For those of you selecting email delivery, be certain to look for the separate subscription activation email (it may have gone to the junk mail folder if it is not in your in box) and click on the link to activate.

We certainly hope you enjoy the broadened content offering at Please send any press releases, hot-tips, questions and comments to

My back is aching from all of the moving but I believe you will enjoy all of the moist and chewy early-stage life science company goodness being served up at Life Science Deal Flowit’s not just a new coat of paint…

Colorado Life Science Deal Flow is signing off…in 3…2…1…

Like the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were
Scattered pictures,
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we? could we?
Memries, may be beautiful and yet
Whats too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So its the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember...
The way we were...
The way we were...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Under Construction | CLSDF to the All New LSDF!

Good morning. Please note blog coverage this week of 12 October will be spotty as a result of new changes being implemented, particularly:

1) The evolution of [Colorado] Life Science Deal Flow (version 1.0 currently located at the url is progressing to the new Life Science Deal Flow blog (version 2.0 located at the url Note: the previous url redirect from to has now been officially terminated.

2) A new “look and feel” is being deployed, to include logo modifications, a new cool color palete, and an improved and easy to navigate site layout, etc.

3) New advertising options will become available that combine with the Life Science Deal Flow sister site to provide unique and targeted combined advertising campaigns that leverage i. site-based (LSDF & OnBioVC) ii. subscription-based (email and RSS) and iii. print-based (Monthly OnBioVC Trend Analysis reports) exposure. (contact me for more information), and finally…

4) If you are asking yourself “why this, why now?” Well...perhaps you have too much free time on your hand however, this catalyst for change, specifically the broadening of content covered from Colorado-specific entities to more national and international in scope is a result of both the maturation of the ecosystem and indication from folks of a high interest in an expansion of the content funnel.

Certainly we understand some faithful readers may be lost as a result of the new Life Science Deal Flow orientation (we have appreciated your steadfast patronage over the years). For those focused solely on Colorado life science content I encourage you to follow the coverage provided by our friends at Rocky Radar. To those of you who continue on this new evolutionary branch with us, first allow me to thank you for your loyalty, support and inspiration, and please be aware that a slight modification to your email and/or RSS feed will be requested (directions will be provided) when we return to the air. As always please forward tips, requests, questions and comments to me at

Please Stay Tuned! We Will Return to the Air Shortly!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Omeros | Lackluster IPO Debut a Good Sign?

Omeros (NASDAQ: OMER) launched itself onto the Nasdaq global marketplace yesterday with its initial public offering of 6.82M shrs priced at $10 raising approximately $68M less underwriting expenses. Its foray however, was more dud then thud relative to its peers in the Biopharma IPO Class of 2009. For Omeros is the only clinical-stage, pre-commercial, pre-revenue entity to get out and it would appear that the market is not going to reward entities at this stage of development as demonstrated by an immediate sell-off of some nearly 20% before clawing back a bit on this first day of trading to close at $8.73 per share.

This debut provides a very interesting piece of data, though with an N=1 it is hardly statistically significant, nevertheless let’s try and make this “empirical” statement – Pick your analogy, the biopharma public markets are thawing, the biopharma public markets window is opening etc., what is now been demonstrated is that the IPO route for pre-clinical biopharma is less liquidity opportunity for early investors and more financing event to capitalize operations.

Therefore a takeaway here may be to expect big pharma M&A to remain hyper-active for the foreseeable future. Though such a collection of trends may not be ideal for life science entities as options and leverage arms may be limited it is however, a sign that as the public markets claw and scratch their way back that newly positively trading companies are theoretically higher quality going concerns that are being demanded by the street; a clear message that irrational exuberance is no longer accepted…at least in the life science healthcare sector.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

AGA Medical Holdings | Back in the Queue

AGA Medical (Plymouth, MN) developer of interventional devices for the minimally invasive treatment of structural heart defects and peripheral vascular disorders, first filed with the intention to reach the public market in 2008 (‘nuff said), now on the heels of what is shaping up to be, dare one say, an active 2H09 life science IPO market with three entities out [Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE: MJN), Cumberland Pharma (NASDAQ: CPIX) and Talecris (NASDAQ: TLCR)] and now three in the filed queue planning to get out prior to year’s end. As the first snowfall is expected today in Boulder, CO it is feeling uncharacteristically warm and fuzzy inside – can ‘it’ thaw concurrent with old man winter settling in?

The AGA deal again makes sense, that is generally speaking…a pattern is emerging where these entities who have surfaced on the public markets are commercial-stage, certainly not pre-clinical or early-clinical but Phase IIb or later. It sounds as if AGA had revenue circa 2008 in the $180M range with a positive net income to boot. The offering is expected to be priced in the $19 to $21 range on 13.75M shares therefore raising an anticipated $260M to $289M less underwriter expenses. The deal is expected to be managed by Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB), Leernik Swann, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) and Natixis Bleichroeder.

Founded in 1995 by Dr. Kurt Amplatz, a former University of Minnesota professor and researcher, AGA Medical’s range of Amplatzer® products help improve patient outcomes, reduce length of hospital stay and accelerate patient recovery times. Amplatzer® products advanced the treatment of the most common congenital “holes in the heart,” such as atrial septal defects, patent foramen ovale and ventricular septal defects. More than 1,500 articles supporting the benefits of Amplatzer® products have been published. AGA Medical markets Amplatzer® products in 101 countries worldwide.

Note: According to the [C]LSDF 2009 Biopharma IPO Watch List confidence in the new issues appears to be maintained as the bottom has not dropped out post issuance; an additional encouraging sign of the receptivity of the markets.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Allos | Get it When You Can...

Many a seasoned and sophisticated biopharma executive have described to me the reality of when an entity does not need to raise capital it should because at some point it will be needed, and by not needing it, the situation may, just may…lend itself to perhaps lowering the cost of capital due in part to the leverage of not exactly needing it at the time of the raise (Wow, that was a mouthful). Now that Allos Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ALTH) has hung out their ‘open for business’ sign with the recent approval of Folotyn™ for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma is additional capital required? Well building a commercial enterprise may take upwards of $10 to $20M, there are now scaled manufacturing needs and let us also consider the broad ongoing clinical pursuits for follow-on indications of Folotyn™. No doubt, all capital intensive pursuits.

A quick scan of the most recent balance sheet for Allos indicates cash and cash equivalents plus short term investments totaling approximately $105M, certainly that has evaporated throughout the second quarter at a burn rate of perhaps $14.1M (cash from operations plus cap ex), leaving a guesstimated cash position at around $80 - $90M today? Not exactly an uncomfortable place to be sitting. So what is one to do sitting in this seemingly well capitalized position? Correct! Go out and raise more money! And that is exactly what the plan is.

Allos has announced the price of a new public offering of 14,000,000 shrs of common stock set at $7.10 yielding a planned gross proceeds of $99.4M, expected to close on 13 October. Allos has also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an aggregate of 2,100,000 additional shares of common stock to cover over-allotments, if any. The deals’ underwriters include J.P. Morgan Securities, Citigroup Global Markets, Leerink Swann, JMP Securities, Needham & Company, and RBC Capital Markets.

Get it when you can…

Inviragen | Series A $15M and M&A

Inviragen (Ft. Collins, CO) a preclinical-stage vaccine company focused on emerging global infectious diseases, closed a $15M Series A financing and in the process merged the assets of Singapore-based SingVax. Participants in the round include Charter Life Sciences, Venture Investors, Bio*One Capital and Phillip Private Equity. This initial round of institutional capital comes on the heels of a $600,000 grant, announced in September, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to partially support continued development of a dengue vaccine.

The new funding is expected to push a number of vaccine candidates into the clinic and yield proof-of-concept and efficacy data. The lead vax is designed to protect against dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease that threatens 3.6 billion people living in tropical and subtropical regions around the globe; 36 million cases of dengue fever are thought to occur per year WW, the most severe form of the disease, dengue hemorrhagic fever, leads to the deaths of approximately 20,000 people annually.

Rounding out the robust Inviragen pipeline include vaccines against Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, chikungunya, avian- (H5N1) and swine-origin (H1N1) influenza and, a combination plague and smallpox vaccine for biodefense.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

GlobeImmune | Presenting Phase II Data @ AASLD

GlobeImmune (Louisville, CO) a clinical-stage company focused on developing targeted immunogens for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases, has had an abstract (“GI-5005 Therapeutic Vaccine Plus PEG-IFN/Ribavirin Improves End of Treatment Response at 48 Weeks Versus PEG-IFN/Ribavirin in Naïve Genotype 1 Chronic HCV Patients”) for their investigational hepatitis C virus product candidate accepted for presentation at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (31 Oct. to 4 Nov. 2009 Boston, MA).

GlobeImmune will also present at AASLD end-of-treatment, 48-week data in interferon-naïve patients from a Phase II clinical study investigating the efficacy and safety of GI-5005 plus peg-interferon (peg- IFN) and ribavirin, the current standard of care, in patients with genotype 1 chronic HCV infection compared to patients receiving only SOC.

Chronic hepatitis C infection, a viral liver disease, is a major health epidemic worldwide. Currently, there are approximately 170 million people worldwide who are infected with the hepatitis C virus. Of these, 4 million live in the United States with an additional 5 million in Western Europe. Approximately 20-30% of all hepatitis C patients will face life threatening complications as a result of their disease. Hepatitis C accounts for 20% of cases of acute hepatitis, 70% of cases of chronic hepatitis, 40% of cases of end-stage cirrhosis, 60% of cases of hepatocellular carcinoma and 30% of liver transplants in the United States. The incidence of new symptomatic infections of hepatitis C has been estimated to be 13 cases/100,000 persons annually. For every one person who is infected with the AIDS virus, there are more than four infected with hepatitis C. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are up to 230,000 new hepatitis C infections in the U.S. every year. Currently, 8,000 to 10,000 deaths each year are attributed to hepatitis C.

The GI-5005 Tarmogen expresses a fusion protein encompassing sequences from both HCV NS3 and Core proteins. NS3 and Core are abundantly expressed in infected cells, are required for viral replication and contain targets that are recognized by both CD4+ "helper" and CD8+ "killer" T cells. Both the Core and NS3 proteins are highly conserved among HCV genotypes 1a and 1b, the HCV strains most prevalent in the U.S. In December 2007, GI-5005 initiated a multi-center, randomized, Phase 2 study in combination with standard of care (pegylated interferon plus ribavirin).

Biodesix | First Tranche of $10M Series B

Biodesix (Broomfiled, CO) a commercial-stage molecular diagnostics company focused on proteomic-based diagnostics, closed the first tranche of a $10M Series B financing. The company is enabling personalized health care via their mass spectrometry-based molecular profiling proprietary platform technology, ProTS®, to discover and validate diagnostic tests for the improvement of patient outcomes.

Biodesix' first product, VeriStrat®, a pretreatment serum proteomic test for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer is now commercially available for physicians to help guide their treatment of patients (view the demo [HERE]). The test identifies patients who are likely to have good or poor outcomes after treatment with EGFR-TKIs. Samples are processed in Biodesix' CLIA accredited laboratory and results are typically reported within 72 hours of sample shipment. VeriStrat® has been validated in clinical studies with over 1000 patients, and the Company is engaging in additional studies to further validate the test and to explore the clinical utility of VeriStrat® in other solid epithelial tumors and with other EGFR inhibitors.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

October | Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In recognition of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month [C]LSDF is highlighting a few of the early-stage entities who are on the front-line in the battle against breast cancer that have been recently funded and are offering interesting scientific approaches in an effort to yield novel potential treatments, diagnostics and cures.

If you are interested in providing your individual support please visit the Susan G. Komen Search for the Cure™ info and donation page [HERE].

  • Aragon Pharmaceuticals based in San Diego, CA, is a discovery-stage small molecule company focused on therapeutics for the treatment of hormone-resistant cancers, with an initial focus on prostate and breast cancer.
  • Quantum Immunologics based in Tampa, FL is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on breast cancer.
  • Alethia Biotherapeutics based in Montréal, Québec is a development-stage biotechnology company focused therapeutic monoclonal antibodies for the treatment and prevention of severe bone loss, ovarian cancer, and metastatic breast cancer.
  • Micrima based in Bristol, England is an early-stage stage company focused on radio wave technology to improve detection of breast cancer.
  • Cianna Medica based in Aliso Viejo, CA is a brachytherapy medical device company focused on women’s health and dedicated to the innovative treatment of early-stage breast.
  • Sanarus Medical based in Pleasanton, CA provides minimally invasive products for the diagnosis and treatment of breast tumors.
  • Sopherion Therapeutics based in Princeton, NJ is a late-stage oncology company with a potential first-line therapy in combination with cyclophosphamide for patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Talecris | And Then There Were Three!

Part of the [C]LSDF ongoing series Watching the Bio IPO Market.

Talecris Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: TLCR) made a thunderous debut with its Initial Public Offering on the Nasdaq today, offering 50,000,000 shares at $19 and raising $950M in the process. The fun however, did not stop there as the third life science offering of the year powered through the remainder of day, ringing the closing bell at $21.15, or a market cap of ~$1.06B! Speaking of ringing the bell, look for Talecris CEO Larry Stern to ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq on Friday morning (2 October 2009).

According to the [C]LSDF IPO Watch List the three companies to get out this year have raised in aggregate ~$1.85B, what is of particular interest is how they have responded by the very least maintaining or bettering their opening valuation (see price chart below).

What I find to be of particular interest in the case of Talecris is the story behind the story – or more specifically, the early investors who were handsomely rewarded by the street today. Just to put this tale into context Talecris is a robust entity, 2008 financials indicate revenue of $1.4B and a net income of $66M and thus account for (IMHO) the makings of a completely legitimate offering from a (potential) going-concern perspective.

Back in 2005 private equity (then) behemoth Cerberus Capital Management and Ampersand Ventures acquired from Bayer (XETRA: BAY.DE) their Talecris (then NPS Biotherapeutics) franchise for $590M, as part of a reorg effort. In the interim Cerberus placed some massive bets on Chrylser, who filed for bankruptcy protection and GMAC, who found themselves in need of a government bailout to the tune of $5B. Needless to say Cerberus was taking their lumps and the limited partners were clamoring for a return of their capital therefore, a liquidity opportunity for Talecris was paramount; the first shot came via a planned IPO circa 2007 but as the public markets then turned to ice the filing was killed; strike one. The next effort came back in August of 2008 when a potential monster $3.1B deal for Talecris was placed on the table by Australian blood plasma company CSL, this deal however fell apart primarily due to antitrust concerns. So in 2009 third-times-a-charm and Talecris finally gets out, in a still challenging environment.

What does this IPO mean to Cerberus? Well, various sources have reported that the fund owned 74% of Talecris prior to the IPO and retained approximately 38% post IPO, based on day 1’s closing price that values their piece of the action in the ballpark of $400M but don’t feel too bad for Cerberus as it appears as though over $800M in dividends were distributed in 2005-06. So all in maybe a return of $1.2B, call it maybe 2.5-3X. It is being widely reported that Cerberus was all in for less than $100M and therefore returns of 20-25X are being touted – I can’t quite get my head wrapped around that math and the distributions from a percent ownership perspective. If you know better than [C]LSDF, and that is probably most folks, will you please provide some insight? Or if there are any super-motivated MBA students out there I’m certain this would make for a fascinating case study. One thing I do know for certain is that the life science IPO market will remain an interesting place to observe.

Tape-Delay from the RMLSIC | That’s a Wrap!

The Rocky Mountain Life Science Investor Conference yielded a sense of sophistication and intensity catalyzed by the aggregation of high-quality presenting companies and top-tier venture and corporate investors. I was hardly surprised that then rumor, hearsay and innuendo combined to yield quite a bit of buzz throughout the oak paneled hallways of the Ritz Carlton about “interest”, “follow-on meetings”, and yes even “term sheets” and “syndicated deals”. Perhaps the most important take-away for this author is the continued realization that location in the obvious clusters is not a prerequisite for funding, rather great science and IP, great management and great market opportunity are the combined elements that often create opportunity for an entity when it goes shopping for an institutional round of financing.

We have previously covered the presenting companies:

Part I – The Diagnostic companies [HERE]
Part II – The Biopharma companies [HERE]
Part III – The Medical Device companies [HERE]

Here then is a list of those participating venture and corporate investors:

Venture Capital Funds

Corporate Investors
And to those individuals, associations and entities who made it all possible, a collective thank you and see you at the 2010 Rocky Mountain Life Science Investor Conference!

AZBio, Bowne & Co. (NYSE: BNE), Capital Advisors Group, Colorado Bioscience Association, Forest City Science + Technology Group, Cooley Godward Kronsih, Doresy & Whitney, Ernst & Young, Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority, High Country Venture, inVentiv Clinical, Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., Montana Biosience Alliance, Morgenthaler Ventures, NMBio, Oklahoma Bioscience Association, PhRMA, Rocky Mountain Venture Capital Association, Sequel Venture Partners, Silicon Valley Bank, TriNet, Ubiquity, Utah Office of Economic Development and vSpring Capital.