12:00 AM
Jul 21, 2008
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

Ebb & Flow

In the largest untranched biotech financing this year, genome sequencing company Pacific Biosciences (formerly Nanofluidics) raised $100 million last week in a series E round. The company now has raised $178 million since it was founded in 2004.

The proceeds are intended to take the company through commercialization of its single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) DNA genome sequencing technology in 2010.

Pacific Biosciences is one of the companies that has received a challenge grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute to develop technology to enable whole genome sequencing for $1,000.

The company hopes that its technology will lead to the “mass customization of medicine,” in which genomic analysis is available as part of routine medical care for as low as $100, according to Sue Siegel of Mohr Davidow Ventures, which founded Pacific Biosciences.

“We believe that it can go into the IPO market if the environment and everything is right, but I don’t think anyone would say that’s our only option. I don’t think there will be any lack of suitors,” she said.

The financing was co-led by Deerfield Capital and Intel Capital. Other new investors included Morgan Stanley, Redmile Group, T. Rowe Price, and another undisclosed large financial institution.

All previous investors participated in the financing, including Mohr Davidow, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Alloy Ventures, Maverick Capital, AllianceBernstein, DAG Ventures, and Teachers’ Private Capital.

Into the breach

Two companies that pulled IPOs early this year, oncology company Light Sciences and molecular diagnostics company BG Medicine, have gone back to the venture well to keep them going.

In its IPO filed in April 2006, Light Sciences had sought to raise about $80 million by selling 5.3 million shares at $14-$16. The company pulled the offering in February. But at the C21 BioVentures conference in May, President and CEO Llew Keltner said he expected to raise a $50 million round (see BioCentury, May 26).

Last week’s deal collected $40 million. The investors weren’t disclosed.

Light Sciences has raised a total of $137 million. It is developing Light Infusion Therapy (Litx), a photodynamic therapy that uses non-coherent light to generate singlet oxygen from talaporfin sodium (LS11). Litx is in Phase III trials for hepatocellular carcinoma and metastatic colorectal cancer, with a Phase III trial in glioma expected to start this year.

BG Medicine filed in August 2007 for an IPO of up to $80 million on Euronext Amsterdam. It switched gears in November 2007 to a NASDAQ debut, but withdrew altogether in...

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