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Accelerator Corp raises $51.1 mln for fourth fund

Accelerator Corp. said Tuesday that it has raised $51.1 million in the first close of its fourth fund. The pool’s investors include Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, WRF Capital, Eli Lilly, Harris & Harris Group, Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., The Partnership Fund for New York City and Pfizer Venture Investments. Based in Seattle and New York City, Accelerator Corp is a biotech investment firm.

VC-backed Solstice Biologics hires new president/CEO and CFO

San Diego-based biotech startup Solstice Biologics, which is backed by venBio and Aeris Capital, has hired Dr. Lou Tartaglia as president and CEO. Tartaglia has also been added to the firm’s board of directors. Also, the firm has named John Borgeson as chief financial officer. Previously, Tartaglia worked at Third Rock Ventures where he was a partner while Borgeson was vice president of finance for Pfizer‘s biotherapeutic and bioinnovation center.

AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer take-it-or-leave-it offer – Reuters

AstraZeneca has rejected a sweetened and final offer from Pfizer, writes Reuters. The rebuff came nine hours after Pfizer said it had raised its takeover offer to 55 pounds a share, or around 70 billion pounds ($118 billion) in total, and would walk away if AstraZeneca did not accept it, writes Reuters.

Kindler Joins Lux Capital

Jeff Kindler, the former Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, has joined Lux Capital as a venture partner. Kindler will help identify new healthcare investment opportunities and work with Lux portfolio companies. PRESS RELEASE Lux Capital, a leading venture capital firm, today announced that former Pfizer Chairman and CEO Jeff Kindler joined the firm as a […]

A Mega $11.85 billion Deal for Pfizer Nutrition

Pfizer is to divest its nutrition business to Nestlé for $11.85 billion in cash. Pfizer’s Nutrition business recorded revenues of approximately $2.1 billion in 2011, an increase of 15% versus 2010. PRESS RELEASE Pfizer today announced that it has entered into an agreement to divest its Nutrition business to Nestlé for $11.85 billion in cash. […]

VCs Encouraged by Stem Cell Therapies in Clinical Trials, ‘Frenzy of Activity’ Predicted

(Reuters) – A rogue surgeon injects stem cells from a fetus into a sick man’s brain. The cells morph and form body parts. When the man dies, the pathologist finds cartilage, skin and bone clumped in his brain.

The scene is not from a horror movie; it happened to Max Truex, a former Olympic runner who suffered from Parkinson’s disease. The case sent a chill through the scientific community when it came to light 15 years ago and typifies some of the hurdles researchers have faced while trying to bring stem cell therapies to the market.

Now, it appears, their efforts are closer than ever to paying off.

Dozens of adult stem cell treatments are moving through clinical trials and showing early success, raising hopes that some could reach the market within five years.

“It will only take a few successes to really change the …

Idun Pharma: From $300 Million to $30 Million in Five Years

Digital media companies like AOL and Yahoo get lots of flack for buying VC-backed startups at high valuations, and then later dumping them for just pennies on the dollar. Well, sometimes it also happens in the biotech world.

Take the case of Idun Pharmaceuticals, developer of drugs focused on a type of cell death known as apoptosis. Idun raised around $100 million in VC funding between 1993 and 2005, at which point it was sold to Pfizer for around $298 million. Solid double for the VCs, and part of Pfizer’s plan to use M&A to help supplant expiring patents.

The Idun management team left a few months later to form Conatus Pharmaceuticals, a drug startup focused on inflammation and liver disease. It raised around $30 million — all new investors, save for Aberdare Ventures — and today announced that has bought Idun back from Pfizer.

Conatus Pharma Buys Back Idun Pharma

Conatus Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego-based drug company focused on inflammation and liver disease, has acquired the Idun Pharmaceuticals subsidiary of Pfizer Inc. No financial terms were disclosed. Conatus was founded in July 2005 by the executive management team of Idun Pharma, following its sale to Pfizer. It has raised around $27.5 million in VC funding, from Aberdare Ventures, Advent Venture Partners, Bay City Capital and Gilde Healthcare Partners.

Who’ll Stop the Pain?

News that GlaxoSmithKline signed a $1.5 billion anti-inflammatory drug development deal with Germany-based Cellzome AG should be music to venture capital ears. Cellzome raised around $113 million in VC funding since 2000, from firms like Atlas Venture, SV Life Sciences, Advent International and Index Ventures — and is one of a burgeoning number of pain-oriented pharmaceutical startups.

Investment peaked last year, with VCs investing more than $720 million in 49 companies addressing pain, the largest amount they’ve invested in at least 10 years, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of VCJ). Startups developing pain-relieving drugs make up the bulk of the fundings (21 such companies attracted more than $400 million last year), with device makers and others rounding out the total.

The payoff could be huge

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