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Celsense, IXICO, Arete Therapeutics, Tempo Pharmaceuticals, Pluristem

Following is a summary of recent early-stage investments in university-spawned start-up companies in the life sciences and biotechnology industries:
The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse last week said that it has invested $150,000 in Celsense to further the commercialization of Cell Sense, its flagship product.
Cell Sense is an MRI tracer agent that labels cells in culture. When the cells are transferred to a living subject, they can be imaged in their anatomical context using MRI.
Cellsense, located in Pittsburgh, was founded in 2005 to commercialize imaging platforms licensed exclusively from Carnegie Mellon University.

Imperial Innovations Group and the Capital Fund last week announced that they have jointly invested £850,000 ($1.7 million) to co-lead a £2.44 million investment into IXICO Limited, a provider of image-analysis products to the pharmaceutical industry.
Imperial Innovations Group is Imperial College London’s technology-commercialization and investment arm, while the Capital Fund is a £50-million regional venture capital fund for the London area.
IXICO is a spin-out from the University of London and Imperial College London. Its automated data-analysis software is based on research of its scientific founders, Derek Hill and David Hawkes of University College, London; and Jo Hajnal and Daniel Rueckert of Imperial College, as well as technology licensed from Kings College London.

Arete Therapeutics last week said it has raised $35 million in an extension of its Series A financing.
Founding investors Frazier Healthcare Ventures and Alta Partners co-led the round, which included existing investors Burrill & Company and Altitude Life Science Ventures. The extension completes the Series A round and brings the total amount of funding to $51 million.
Arete was founded in 2003 as a virtual company based on research conducted by Bruce Hammock of the University of California, Davis. Arete is developing first-in-class small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular, inflammatory, and metabolic diseases.

Tempo Pharmaceuticals last week said that it has closed a $12.1 million Series A financing round.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based firm will use the cash to continue developing its preclinical pipeline of multi-compartmental, nanoparticle-based drugs.
Venrock of New York, and Polaris Venture Partners of Waltham, Mass., co-led the round, with participation from Lux Capital and William Rastetter, former executive chairman of Biogen-Idec and a partner at Venrock.
Tempo’s technology is based on IP licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Pluristem has raised around $13.5 million in a round of private equity investment, the New York-based company said last week.
The financing is a continuation of an investment announced on Feb. 14, and included as investors the Technion-Israel Institute and inventors who collaborated on the technology, whose patents were acquired by Pluristem.
The company also licenses technology from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.
Pluristem has offices in and is incorporated in the US, and has research and manufacturing facilities in Israel.

The Scan

Support for Moderna Booster

An FDA advisory committee supports authorizing a booster for Moderna's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, CNN reports.

Testing at UK Lab Suspended

SARS-CoV-2 testing at a UK lab has been suspended following a number of false negative results.

J&J CSO to Step Down

The Wall Street Journal reports that Paul Stoffels will be stepping down as chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson by the end of the year.

Science Papers Present Proteo-Genomic Map of Human Health, Brain Tumor Target, Tool to Infer CNVs

In Science this week: gene-protein-disease map, epigenomic and transcriptomic approach highlights potential therapeutic target for gliomas, and more