BLPA’s Rearview Mirror: Monetizing Biotech

BLPA’s Rearview Mirror

M&A and Private Placements

November 10, 2014


  • We love to hear your opinions and comments at
  • If you like what you read, please click on the SHARE button at the end of this blog.

socialThe trend of media deals continues this week, the biggest being Sapient’s acquisition by the Publicis Groupe. It seems that every advertising/media company is desperate to get a foothold in the new digital technologies that are leading the way. This trend has prompted me to start reading Targeted: How Technology is Revolutionizing Advertising and the Way Companies Reach Consumers by Mike Smith. Exhibit One is Google.

It’s remarkable how these industries changes start as a trickle, and before you know it the advertising industry is totally transformed. The old ways and traditions remain, but are being condensed and pushed aside by the new methodologies.

This week, it looks like there was monetization in the biotech/medical world, with two mega-billion dollar deals. Company prices were between $150m to $5.6b. Biotech is one area where more money has been invested than has been reaped. When the companies get sold, it’s big. Otherwise, it’s an IP sale for peanuts.

Mergers & Acquisitions[1]

Click on the highlighted text for more deal information.


Sapient, the Boston-based digital marketing and advertising agency, is being acquired by Publicis Groupe for $3.7b.

Contact At Once!, a provider of digital engagement solutions that connect consumers to businesses via chat, video or mobile, is being acquired by LivePerson for $65m.

Fetch, mobile advertising firm, is being acquired by Dentsu Aegis Network for 30m GBP.

BlogHer is being acquired by SheKnows Media for between $30m and $40m.

Steel Media, which does display, mobile, video and email advertising, is being acquired by Social Reality for $20m.

Stitcher [Radio] is being acquired by Deezer, a world-wide streaming service.


Telesphere Networks is being acquired by Vonage for $114m.

Megaport, the leading provider of network interconnection services in the Asia Pacific, is being acquired by Amcom Telecommunications for $15m.

PingTone Communications, a provider of integrated cloud-based communications services, is being acquired by Fusion Telecommunications for $10m.

Seattle-based Union Bay Networks, a cloud networking startup, is being acquired by Apple.


Code for the People is being acquired by Automattic, the WordPress publisher.

Financial Services

Bswift, an insurance exchange technology provider, is being acquired by Aetna for $400m.

TNS, an eCard and card-present payment gateway, is being acquired by MasterCard.


Blackbird Technologies, a consulting firm specializing in security analysis and threat avoidance services, is being acquired by Raytheon for $420m.


Worcester, MA-based World Energy Solutions is being acquired by EnerNOC for $76m.


BuyDomains, based in Waltham, MA, is being acquired by Endurance International for $77m.


Set top box maker,Fan TV, is being acquired by Rovi Corporation. It’s speculated that the price is about $15m.

Revolv, which makes an internet-connected device that controls other gadgets in the home aided by a smartphone app, is being acquired by Google’s Nest Labs.


Covance, a contract research company, is being acquired by LabCorp for $5.6b.

Omega Pharmaceuticals is being by Perrigo for $4.5b.

CyVek, which has developed a transformative immunoassay technology CyPlex (TM),is being acquired by Bio-Techne for $195

Difiniens, which pioneered a world-leading imaging and data analysis technology, known as Tissue Phenomics™, which dramatically improves the identification of biomarkers in tumour [sic] tissue. is being acquired by MedImmune, the research arm of AstraZeneca for $150m.

United Kingdom

Prezzo, a UK casual dining chain, is being acquired by TPG Capital for $482m.


Three year old Galecto Biotech, targeting galectin-3 to treat fibrotic diseases, is being acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb.


Dihon Pharmaceutical is being acquired by Bayer AG for $589m.

Private Placements[2]

Click on the highlighted text for company and deal descriptions.


Powa Technologies, which is creating a seamless consumer experience across multiple purchase channels, raised an $80m Series C round.

Gigya, a “customer identity management platform,” raised a $35m Series F round with Adobe Systems.

StratoScale, the “data center software infrastructure of the future,” raised a $32m Series B round, which included Cisco, Intel and SanDisk.

Austin-based Gravitant, that has developed cloudMatrix, a software suite, that enables enterprises and solution providers to become IT service brokers, raised a $25m Series B round.

Ease Entertainment Services, a full-service entertainment payroll, technology and incentives tracking system, raised $17m from Bison Capital Asset Management.

Nitro, a “document productivity” company raised a $15m Series B round from Battery Ventures.

Namely, HR platform which maintains a “Human Capital” database, payroll and benefits, performance management and employee engagement solutions, raised a $12m Series B round.

Vicarious, a developer of algorithms for robots and machines, raised a $12m Series C round with ABB as an investor.

Specialty Chemicals

Green Mantra Technologies, which uses a patented process to transform plastics into high-value specialty chemicals, raised a $17m.


INRIX, a traffic service, raised a $10m Series G round with Intel Capital. This comes on the heels of a $55m investment from Porsche.

Financial Services

Trustly Group, a payment system for merchants that includes eight countries, 57 banks and mobile apps, raised 23m Euro.


Guildford, CT-based Butterfly Network, a medical imaging company, raised $100m.

Biolase, which has developed dental lasers and related products, raised $35m.

Quanta Fluid Solutions, which has developed a compact, home-based haemodialysis machine raised a 27m GBP Series B round.

Imago BioSciences, a biotech company developing innovative therapeutics, raised a $26m Series A round.

Trevi Therapeutics, a late stage biotechnology company focused on developing Nalbuphine ER for chronic pruritus (itch), raised a $26m Series B round.

Tolero Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage company developing treatments to improve and extend the lives of patients with serious hematological diseases, raised a $22m Series B round with Fred Alger Management.

OrthAlign, a hand-held device which helps surgeons obtain precisely alignment during hip and knee replacement surgeries, raised a $15m Series C round.


Menlook, a Paris-based on-line men’s wear retailer, raised 23m .


Calgary-based BlueEarth Renewables, focused on commercial scale renewable energy development, raised an $81m, that included ARC Financial and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

South Africa

Tekkie Town, a leading sports and lifestyle shoe chain with over 250 locations, raised $65m.


iCarsClub,w here you rent out your car to a stranger, or rent a stranger’s car by the hour or by the day, raised a $60m Series B round.


Renren Kuaidi, a crowd-sourced delivery platform, raised a $15m Series A round. India

Meg’s Corner

VdayVeterans’ Day is around the corner. It’s a poignant day, especially as we continue to send troops to the Middle East. The health and PTSD issues that can come home with the soldier are incredibly sobering.

It has always struck me that the biggest and most vehement pacifists I know are veterans: be it my father from the Polish Army in WWII or my friend and business school colleague, John, who did two tours of duty in Vietnam. They believed that when you are fighting on someone else’s ground, you can create great resentment and hate with the best of intentions.

The day is always celebrated in our household, as my husband used to patrol the ocean floors in a submarine. Admittedly, I’m a junkie for tales of life in the Navy. The submarines, the aircraft carriers, the planes. All very cool stuff.


All the best,

Margaret Johns

Founder, BlueLake Partners, LLC







Jan Robertson

SiVal Advisors, LLC


Bic Stevens

Stevens Capital Advisors



Susan Woods and Vlad Harris

Margaret Johns is the Founder and Chairman of BlueLake Partners, a boutique M&A investment bank based in the Greater Boston Area.  Prior to founding BlueLake she was an employee founder and Managing Director at Needham & Company where she worked in Corporate Finance in New York City and headed up its Boston office.  She now lives in Londonderry, New Hampshire with her husband, 16 year old step-daughter and three pugs.  When she’s not working with clients, FINRA or writing blogs she competes on the Granite State Penguins Masters Swim Team, skis, rides her bike or is out walking her pugs.

Content researched, edited and reviewed on a best efforts basis.


We make no claim to being comprehensive in our review, as the contents are companies and topics we, ourselves, find of interest.


This newsletter is currently being proofed by Dave Henshaw, which is much appreciated. Dave is my USMS swimming lane mate, and Granite State Penguin team-mate. He is retired from MIT, where he used to produce and proof their annual financial report. Exactly what we need.

[1] TechCrunch and company websites

[2] TechCrunch and company websites