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Biotech seeks partnerships; Tech sees consolidation

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Large biotech and life sciences companies sought out partnerships for research and development, while acquisitions and consolidation have become the trend du jour in the semiconductor industry.

Big pharma partnerships
*The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has partnered with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lily to develop drugs for immune system diseases. Eli Lilly said the institute’s research focus allies closely with its own interest areas.

*Isis Pharmaceuticals partnered with German pharma major Bayer HealthCare in a $100 million deal to bring its anticoagulant drug to market. Isis has a history of partnering with pharma companies on major deals. It previously partnered with Genzyme for a $175 million up-front payment to commercialize its cardiovascular drug.

*In a boost to local biotech research, British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline chose San Diego as its West Coast base, opening an office in La Jolla in April. The company will look outside its own pipeline for new drug development opportunities, which will benefit research institutes such as the Salk Institute and The Scripps Research Institute, and biotech startups involved in drug development.

Major acquisition
Auspex Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Israeli drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals for $3.5 billion. The deal was announced in March and completed in May. Auspex has a drug in late-stage clinical trials to treat movement disorders that has been given orphan drug status by the Food and Drug Administration, which brings many benefits including marketing exclusivity.

Big data
Big data is at the cusp of tech and biotechnology, and San Diego has rapidly become a hub in the national scene for analyzing reams of biomedical data, using supercomputers and software to figure out why people fall victim to devastating diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer's disease.

As a result, big data researchers are in high demand and organizations including the University of California, San Diego have entered the race to nab the hottest stars in this hitherto dry field.

UCSD is also looking at partnering with a leading life science research institute such as TSRI to create a center for the study of neurological disorders. The University of Southern California made an unsuccessful bid last year to acquire TSRI, and UCSD plans to thwart such a move by strengthening local ties across the Torrey Pines mesa.

Tech mergers
*When San Jose-based Avago Technologies bought wireless chip-maker Broadcom in May for $37 billion, it became the third-largest semiconductor company. Although Broadcom headquarters are in Irvine, it has a base in San Diego and employs a couple of hundred people here.

*There’s speculation about what Qualcomm will do next and whether it will acquire key companies in order to boost slowing sales in smartphone chips. Despite solid earnings, it suffered a blow when Samsung decided not to use its chips for the Galaxy S6 smartphone.

*In broadband technology, Carlsbad-based chip-maker MaxLinear acquired struggling Entropic Communications in May for $285 million. Entropic makes chips for set-top boxes, satellite television and cable systems.

*Sony’s video game unit Sony Online Entertainment was acquired by a private equity firm Columbus Nova and renamed Daybreak Game Co.

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Visit sddt.com/technology for our weekly consumer products column, “On Technology,” and sddt.com/health for a calendar of biotech industry events.

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