VC-backed Ardelyx debuts IPO

Ardelyx has launched its IPO after pricing its approximately 4.3 million shares at $14 per share. The stock began trading Thursday on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “ARDX.” Citigroup and Leerink Partners are the lead underwriters. Based in Fremont, Calif., Ardelyx is a biopharmaceutical firm focused on cardio-renal, GI and metabolic diseases. Its backers include New Enterprise Associates, CMEA Capital and Amgen Ventures.

VC-backed Sorbent Therapeutics expands board of directors

Sorbent Therapeutics, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based biopharmaceutical firm focused on treating cardiovascular and renal diseases, has added Jay Shepard and William D. Waddill to its board of directors. Shepard is an executive partner at Sofinnova Ventures while Waddill is the senior vice president and chief financial officer at Calithera Biosciences. Sorbent’s backers include CMEA Capital, ARCH Venture Partners, Sofinnova Ventures, AgeChem and Novartis Venture Funds.

Sorbent Therapeutics closes first tranche in $15 mln Series D

Sorbent Therapeutics, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based biopharmaceutical firm focused on treating cardiovascular and renal diseases, has closed a $6.5 million tranche in a $15 million Series D financing. The investors were CMEA Capital, ARCH Venture Partners, Sofinnova Ventures, AgeChem and Novartis Venture Funds.

Arcadia Biosciences snags $33 mln

Arcadia Biosciences, a Davis, Calif-based agricultural biotech firm focused on the environment and human health, said Thursday that it has received $33 million in Series D financing. Mandala Capital Limited led the round with participation from CMEA Capital, BASF Venture Capital and Saints Capital. Piper Jaffray & Co. advised Arcadia on the transaction.

AirTight Raises $10M From Trident, CMEA

AirTight Networks, Inc. said it raised $10 million of Series D financing in a deal led by existing investors Trident Capital and CMEA Capital. The company has now raised a total of $48.75 million.

Sumeet Jain Joins Intel Capital From CMEA

Sumeet Jain announced on his blog that he has joined Intel Capital as an investment director to focus on consumer Internet, mobile Web and software investments. He was previously a partner at CMEA Capital, joining the firm in 2008 and sitting on boards at Apriso, Blekko, Intermolecular, Luminate, WorkingPoint and Zarly.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Buys VC-Backed Intellikine

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, a listed, Japanese pharmaceutical research company, is buying venture-backed Intellikine Inc. Takeda will pay $190 million in cash, and up to $120 million in additional milestone payments. Intellikine was backed by at least $41 million from venture investors including Abingworth, BiogenIdec, CMEA Capital, Fintech Global Capital, Novartis Venture Funds, Sofinnova Ventures and U.S. Venture Partners.

Intellikine Adds $4M in Milestone Payments

Biopharma company Intellikine Inc. has sealed $4 million in new milestone payments as it begins two Phase 1 clinical trials of its drugs. The company, based in La Jolla, Calif., is backed by $41 million from venture investors including Abingworth, BiogenIdec, CMEA Capital, Fintech Global Capital, Novartis Venture Funds, Sofinnova Ventures and U.S. Venture Partners.

Colorado PERA’s 10 Biggest Venture Capital Bets: Slideshow

The Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association has been an uneven investor in venture capital. Commitments have risen and fallen over the years without obvious pattern. In 2006, earmarked capital was $105 million, according to a peHUB analysis of its portfolio. A year earlier, it was $67 million. The year before it was $93 million, and […]

Blekko Inks $30M

Search engine company Blekko has raised $30 million in new funding, half of it coming from publicly traded Yandex. Australian investor MLC Private Equity, and existing investors U.S. Venture Partners, CMEA Capital and PivotNorth Capital also contributed to the round. Yandex acquired a minority stake in Blekko, the company said. Blekko was formed in 2007, and launched its search engine last year.

Update: Solyndra Looks Like Big Write-off For Redpoint, RockPort, CMEA, US Venture Partners

Solar experts have long anticipated a shakeout in the thin film solar industry. Thin film cells, a component of solar panels, offer the potential of low costs. But higher energy conversion efficiencies give competing crystalline silicon cells a market advantage, especially as Chinese firms pump out great volumes supported by inexpensive loans from state banks, lowering […]

Ardelyx Raises $30M Series B

Ardelyx Inc. has raised $30 million in fresh capital from New Enterprise Associates, CMEA Capital and new investor Amgen Ventures. The Series B round will help advance Ardelyx’s pharmaceutical pipeline that includes product candidates to help treat irritable bowel syndrome, chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes. The company has raised a total of $56 million since it was formed in 2007. Ardelyx is based in Fremont, Calif.

Pixazza Changes Name to Luminate

Pixazza said Monday that it’s changing its name to Luminate. Mountain View, Calif.-based Luminate provides a platform for image applications. The company has received funding from August Capital, CMEA Capital, Google Ventures and Shasta Ventures.

Sorbent Therapeutics Soaks Up $36M Series B

Sorbent Therapeutics, the California-based biopharmaceutical company, took $36 million from a group of VCs, the company announced. Investors include Novartis Venture Funds, which led the financing, joining existing investors Sofinnova Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, CMEA Capital and AgeChem. The deal brings Sorbent’s total funding to $53 million.

Contour Energy Systems Inks Series C

Contour Energy Systems, a developer of battery systems, has closed an undisclosed amount of Series C financing, the company said Tuesday. Investors in the round include EDB Investments, CMEA Capital, Harris & Harris, Schlumberger and U.S. Venture Partners. The latest infusion will go toward research and development efforts, production capacity expansion and funding working capital growth.

VIDEO: Top VCs Discuss Finding the Next Google

On the wings of LinkedIn’s IPO, a panel of three top venture capitalists discussed the fast-improving IPO environment, grooming top tech entrepreneurs, and finding companies that could be the next Google.

After a long dry spell, IPOs are recovering along with an improving economy, according to Saad Khan of CMEA Capital, Axel Bichara of Atlas Venture, and Bill Maris of Google Ventures, all of whom tell Jen Rogers of Reuters Insider that now is a good time to be a venture capitalist.

Still, the quest for top talent is extremely competitive, with the best entrepreneurs having multiple options. The panelists say finding the great founders of companies is what makes venture capital a difficult business.

VCs Are Interested in Stuff Besides Social Media (Really)

(Reuters) – Mobile, biotech and e-commerce all have one thing in common: they are among the next wave of startups that have caught the eye of venture capital.

In the past year, social media companies such as Facebook, Zynga, Groupon and LinkedIn have stolen the limelight as the fastest growing space for venture funds.

Still, they make up just one area, and even a minority percentage, of investment for a number of venture capital funds.

“Social media companies are leading the charge, capturing people’s fantasy,” Axel Bichara, a partner at Atlas Venture, told a panel at the Reuters Global Technology Summit Venture Capital in New York on Wednesday. “If you look at venture capital companies as a whole, it’s a really broad and deep

VCs from Accel, Atlas and Google Ventures Are Skeptical of Secondary Market Trading

(Reuters) – Venture capitalists are wary of the secondary markets that have soared in popularity with investors looking for a piece of action in private companies like Facebook, Twitter and Groupon.

The secondary markets, which enable the exchange of shares in privately held companies, are a black hole because private companies are not required to disclose financial information.

“It is scary and I would be very careful before doing any such deals,” Axel Bichara, a partner with Atlas Ventures, said during the venture capital panel at Reuters Global Technology Summit on Wednesday in New York.

Bill Maris, a managing partner at Google Ventures, said secondary market trading creates all types of market forces

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