A Guide to the Cosmos

This post is by Barry Ritholtz from The Big Picture

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Via the NYT discussion of “Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle,” we get these outstanding photos, an “an exquisite picture guide to the universe by Michael Benson, a photographer, journalist and filmmaker, and obviously a longtime space buff.”

The Andromeda Galaxy

Cat’s Paw Nebula

The colliding Antenna Galaxies

Carina Nebula (note the eerily suspended Bok Globules — larva-like clouds of molecular hydrogen, helium and silicate dust visible throughout the nebula)

Pillars of Creation” in the Eagle Nebula

Witch Head Nebula

Carina Nebula

NGC 2264, the region surrounding and including the Cone Nebula

Crab Nebula

Horsehead Nebula

“Anemic” galaxy NGC 4921

NGC 6559

The Pelican Nebula

The Snake Nebula

Rosette Nebula

Books on Science: A Guide to the Cosmos, in Words and Images
NYT, January 4, 2010

S&P 500 Sector Technicals

This post is by Paul Hickey from Bespoke Investment Group

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Below we provide our six-month trading range charts for the S&P 500 and its ten sectors. For each chart, the red zone represents between one and two standard deviations above the 50-day moving average, and vice versa for the green zone. Throughout the entire bull market, the S&P has been moving in an upward sloping trend channel, bouncing from its…

Private Sector Sheds Only 84,000 Jobs in December

This post is by Mark Fightmaster from BloggingStocks

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Wednesday morning, the ADP index announced that private-sector firms shed 84,000 jobs in December.

Although this was the fewest jobs lost since March 2008, December marked a 23rd-straight month where jobs were lost. Looking back at the number of jobs lost during November, ADP revised the number lost to 145,000 from the original 169,000. Remember, the ADP index does not take government jobs into account.

Continue reading Private Sector Sheds Only 84,000 Jobs in December

Private Sector Sheds Only 84,000 Jobs in December originally appeared on BloggingStocks on Wed, 06 Jan 2010 12:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Yen Falls on Kan Comments; SMFG to Raise $8.7 B

This post is by Darlington Musarurwa from 123Jump.com: Market News

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Finance Minister Naoto Kan in a departure from his predecessor signaled that the government will prefer weaker yen and is prepared to stem the rising yen. The yen fell 1.1% but is still 18% higher than a year ago. Tokyo office vacancy rises to 8.1% in December. Sumitomo Mitsui to raise $8.7 billion.

Top Picks for 2010: Market Vectors Hard Assets (HAP)

This post is by Steven Halpern from BloggingStocks

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This post is part of a special report, Top Picks for 2010, the 27th annual survey in which TheStockAdvisors.com asks the nation’s leading advisors for their single favorite stock for the new year. See all 80 stocks listed here.

“Whenever inflation heats up, there’s no better place to park your cash than in tangible commodities,” says Nathan Slaughter.

In his The ETF Authority, he noes “Our favorite play on this sector is Market Vectors Hard Asset Producers (HAP), an ETF whose 300-stock portfolio provides one-stop shopping for six distinct commodity sub-sectors.”

Continue reading Top Picks for 2010: Market Vectors Hard Assets (HAP)

Top Picks for 2010: Market Vectors Hard Assets (HAP) originally appeared on BloggingStocks on Wed, 06 Jan 2010 12:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Welcome to Govt. Motors, Makers of 6 of the Top 20 Sellers in 2009

This post is by Gregory Corcoran from WSJ.com: Deal Journal

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It was report card time in the auto industry Tuesday. As The Wall Street Journal reported here, it was one of the worst years in history, with total sales falling 21% from 2008 and the full-year unit sales total of 10.4 million believed to be the worst since 1982.

Toyota Motor boasted of selling more cars to U.S. consumers in 2009 than any other maker, passing General Motors in “retail” sales for the first time (GM was No. 1 overall because it sells a lot of cars to fleet customers such as car renters). Government-owned GM’s sales fell 29.7%. Government-owned Chrysler’s sales fell 35.9%.

Here’s another data point, courtesy of the Detroit Free Press, a table showing that the U.S.-owned auto makers had just six of the top 20-selling brands in the country last year.:

Vehicles 2009 volume 2009 % change from 2008
1. Ford F-Series 413,625 -19.8%
2. Toyota Camry 356,824 -18.3%
3. Chevrolet Silverado 316,544 -31.9%
4. Toyota Corolla 296,874 -15.4%
5. Honda Accord 287,492 -22.9%
6. Honda Civic 259,722 -23.5%
7. Nissan Altima 203,568 -24.5%
8. Honda CR-V 191,214 -3.1%
9. Ford Fusion 180,671 22.4%
10. Dodge Ram 177,268 -27.9%
11. Ford Escape 173,044 10.5%
12. Chevrolet Impala 165,565 -37.7%
13. Chevrolet Malibu 161,568 -8.8%
14. Ford Focus 160,433 -18.1%
15. Toyota RAV4 149,088 8.8%
16. Toyota Prius 139.682 -12.1%
17. GMC Sierra 111,842 -33.6%
18. Lexus RX 93,379 10.9%
19. Subaru Legacy 86,330 29.1%
20. Chevrolet Equinox 86,148 27.7%
Source: Autodata

UPDATE: U.S. government-owned auto makers produced six of the top 20 selling cars in the U.S., not five as in the original post.

WireCo WorldGroup Adds On

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WireCo WorldGroup, a wire rope maker owned by Paine & Partners, has acquired Phillystran Inc., a Montgomeryville, Penn.-based  high tenacity fiber ropes, strands, braids and strength members. No financial terms were disclosed.


WireCo WorldGroup (WireCo), the world’s leading producer and marketer of wire rope and electromechanical cable, announced today that it has completed the acquisition of Phillystran, Inc., based in Montgomeryville, PA.

Phillystran Inc. is a leading manufacturer of high tenacity fiber ropes, strands, braids and strength members from fibers such as Kevlar®, Twaron®, Technora®, Vectran®, Spectra®, Dyneema® and Zylon® for specialized applications including mooring lines, life lines, winch lines, boat rigging, structural and support lines, power cables and broadcast tower guy cables. Phillystran also manufactures polyester ropes for specialized applications.

Ira Glazer, WireCo CEO, said, “Phillystran has an excellent reputation in the field of high tech synthetic ropes and serves as our entrée into this important market. The synergy of their technical expertise and our market reach provides us a great opportunity in this important market to offer the best solutions for our customers worldwide.”

Phillystran has more than 35 years of experience in manufacturing of specialty ropes and strength members, and its top priorities are product quality and the satisfaction of long-standing customers. Phillystran operates with locations in the United States and the Netherlands.

“Our entire team will remain intact assuring our customers continuity of service and product quality”, stated W. Wynne Wister, former owner of Phillystran and now a Senior Vice President of WireCo WorldGroup. “We expect to grow our business substantially and, through this transaction, now have the capacity to support that growth.”

Current plans include investments in existing operating facilities and equipment as well as continued emphasis on research and development programs.

WireCo WorldGroup is owned by investment funds managed by Paine & Partners, LLC, the San Francisco, Chicago and New York-based private equity firm.

About WireCo WorldGroup

Our products are recognized throughout the world and used in a wide range of market applications including oil and gas exploration; surface and underground mining; construction; and specialty lifting and suspension applications. We employ approximately 1,900 people worldwide and are headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, with manufacturing plants, distribution facilities and research and development centers in the U.S., Germany, China and Mexico. We are the only major wire rope manufacturer in the world to be API certified, QPL qualified, ISO-9001 and AS9100 registered.

About Paine & Partners

Paine & Partners LLC provides equity capital for management buyouts, going private transactions, and company expansion and growth programs. Paine & Partners engages exclusively in friendly transactions developed in cooperation with a company’s management, board of directors, and shareholders. For further information see www.painepartners.com.

Marlin Equity Buys Liquent from Thomson Reuters

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Marlin Equity Partners has acquired Liquent Inc., a provider of software and services to support the regulatory activities of life sciences companies. The seller was Thomson Reuters (publisher of peHUB). No financial terms were disclosed.


Liquent, Inc. (”Liquent”), a leading provider of software and service solutions designed to support the regulatory business processes of life sciences companies, is pleased to announce that it has been acquired by Marlin Equity Partners (”Marlin”) from Thomson Reuters. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Marlin is a leading private investment firm with over $1 billion of capital under management.

Liquent is the provider of Liquent InSight®, the industry’s only fully integrated and scalable regulatory information management platform. InSight can be leveraged throughout a client organization in support of a life sciences company’s development, registration, and manufacturing processes. Through its Regulatory and Clinical Services consulting services team, Liquent also provides a full range of outsourcing services to support the regulatory submission and registration management activities of a life sciences company. Liquent’s current General Manager, Rick Riegel, will continue his leadership position as the CEO of the company.

“We are very excited to be partnering with such a strong private equity firm,” commented Rick Riegel. “Marlin brings substantial financial resources and expertise in the healthcare IT sector. With their backing and Liquent’s comprehensive software and service solutions, industry leadership, and focus on customer service, we look forward to accelerating our growth and ability to service the evolving and rapidly changing needs of the life sciences industry.”

“Marlin recognizes the life sciences industry’s constant struggle with regulatory change, new product approvals, and cost pressures. Marlin’s backing combined with Liquent’s software and outsourcing capabilities positions us well in helping our customers solve complex regulatory challenges,” stated Jim Brady, Healthcare Operating Partner at Marlin Equity Partners.

About Marlin Equity Partners

Marlin Equity Partners is a Los Angeles, California-based private investment firm with over $1 billion of capital under management. The firm is focused on providing corporate parents, shareholders and other stakeholders with tailored solutions that meet their business and liquidity needs in special situations. Marlin invests in businesses across multiple industries that are in the process of undergoing varying degrees of operational, financial or market-driven change where its capital base, industry relationships and extensive network of operational resources significantly strengthens a company’s outlook and enhances value. Since its inception, Marlin, through its group of funds and related companies, has successfully completed over 30 acquisitions. For more information, please visit www.marlinequity.com.

About Liquent, Inc.

Liquent regulatory solutions provide software and related regulatory and clinical services for the life sciences industry. These solutions and services help ensure clients meet the strict standards of regulatory authorities across the world helping them achieve quality, accuracy, and data integrity to deliver regulatory reports and submissions reliably and on time.

As a result, global life sciences companies, small tier to large tier, rely on Liquent regulatory solutions to provide the technology and services to compress the regulatory submissions and approval process, improving speed to market, cost control, and productivity, all of which contribute to ensuring patients’ and physicians’ timely access to new drugs. Over the last decade, thousands of regulatory submissions have been produced using Liquent world-class products and expert services. For more information please visit, www.liquent.com.

Clean Power Finance Raising New Venture Capital

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Clean Power Finance Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of software and financing solutions to the solar installation industry, has held a first close on a $6.9 million funding round. Claremont Creek Ventures and Clean Pacific co-led the deal, and were joined by return backers Sand Hill Angels and Gary Kremen.


Clean Power Finance, Inc. (CPF) today announced the first close of a $6.9M financing round co-led by Claremont Creek Ventures and Clean Pacific Ventures, and joined by prior investors Sand Hill Angels and clean tech investor Gary Kremen.

CPF’s web-based platform is currently the leading solution for solar installers. The company will use this funding to expand the software feature set and to extend recent successes in solar PV into other energy technology verticals.

Nat Goldhaber from Claremont Creek Ventures and Jeff Barnes from Clean Pacific Ventures will join CPF’s Board of Directors.

CPF Tools is an enterprise-class cloud application that supports sales and marketing business processes for solar integrators, distributors and manufacturers. Since its introduction, CPF Tools has garnered enthusiastic reviews and currently supports over 30 percent of the solar installer community nationwide. CPF Tools drives provider efficiencies and enhances the customer value proposition, all in service of the company’s mission to drive the adoption of renewable energy in the mass market.

“Solar and other renewable energy solutions will only be successful in the mass market when providers are enabled to present a clear, compelling value proposition to customers,” said Joseph Brakohiapa, President and CEO of Clean Power Finance. “CPF Tools helps installers generate accurate quotes, professionally present energy and environmental benefits, and gain access to critical value-add services including verified leads, 3D roof analyses, third party financing solutions, automated completion of government forms –and insurance solutions. By helping installers be successful, we drive the success of the green movement as a whole.”

CPF recently announced partnerships with Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world’s leading manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules; Aon Corporation (NYSE: AOC), the leading global provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human capital consulting; and precigeo, the premier provider of roof schematics and rooftop solar studies to the photovoltaic installer market.

“As the leading solution for solar installers, CPF is already the channel to thousands of renewable energy professionals,” said Nat Goldhaber, Claremont Creek Ventures managing director. “I’m proud to be an investor in a company that is not only driving important value in the green space, but is also helping to turn renewable energy into a practical solution that can succeed in the marketplace.”

About Clean Power Finance

Clean Power Finance is the leading provider of integrated software, services and financing solutions to the solar industry. Based in San Francisco, the company’s mission is to drive the adoption of renewable energy in the mass market. Clean Power Finance delivers an end-to-end solution that supports sales and marketing business processes for integrators, distributors and manufacturers. Since its introduction, the CPF software platform currently supports over 30 percent of the solar installer community nationwide.
For more information, visit www.CleanPowerFinance.com.
About Claremont Creek Ventures
Claremont Creek Ventures turbo-charges the uncommon startup. As an early stage venture firm, Claremont Creek Ventures embraces emerging technologies to accelerate companies’ success in three sectors: energy conservation, healthcare IT, consumer and security markets. Using their proprietary life-cycle venturing program, Claremont Creek partners with East-Bay corridor and other entrepreneurs with special ties to institutions including UC Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore Labs, UC Davis and Stanford University. Claremont Creek Ventures has $300 million under management in two funds from limited partners including the Harvard Management Company, the University of California and the Verizon Pension Fund. In addition to investing in Clean Power Finance, CCV investments include Adura Technologies, EcoFactor, Gene Security Networks, Shotspotter, and PropertyBridge, that was recently acquired by MoneyGram.
For more information, visit www.claremontvc.com.
About Clean Pacific Ventures
Clean Pacific Ventures is a venture capital fund that invests in promising early stage clean technology companies. Clean Pacific focuses primarily on clean technologies related to energy, water, carbon reduction, agriculture and materials. In addition to Clean Power Finance, the portfolio includes SunLink, Marrone Bio Innovations, Carbonflow and AquaGenesis.
For more information, visit www.cleanpacific.com.
About Sand Hill Angels
The Sand Hill Angels is one of leading Silicon Valley angel investing groups where “Entrepreneurs Invest in Entrepreneurs”. The 60 accredited members know what it takes for a company to succeed having done it themselves and they invest their money along with their personal experiences, network and time to help startups succeed. The group has invested in about 20 companies in the last 5 years focusing in the IT & Biotech spaces. Some investments include Vaxart, Zimbio and Ploom with a recent exit of BiPar by Sanofi-Aventis.
For more information, visit www.sandhillangels.com.
About Gary Kremen
Gary Kremen is a leading clean technology angel investor. Clean tech investments include Greenbox (acquired by Silver Springs), Recurv (formally Sustainable Spaces), Enmetric, Solar Universe and People Power. He is a limited partner in 15 venture funds as well as an investor in more than 50 private companies. Before being a private investor, Kremen founded the following: Match.Com (world largest dating service), NetAngels (merged with Firefly Networks and sold to Microsoft), Sex.Com (sold in 2006 as the highest price domain name ever), and Los Altos Technologies (still in business for over 18 years).

F-star Biotech Raises €8 Million

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F-star Biotech, a Vienna, Austria-based antibody engineering company, has raised €8 million in new Series A funding. MP Healthcare Venture Management and Merck Serono Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by return backers Atlas Venture, Aescap Venture, Novo Ventures and TVM Capital.


f-star Biotechnologische Forschungs-und Entwick-lungsges.m.b.H has announced the closing of an EUR 8 Million Extended Series A financing.

The investment round was co-led by MP Healthcare Venture Management (MPH) and Merck Serono Ventures. f-star’s existing investors comprising Atlas Venture, Aescap Venture, Novo Ventures and TVM Capital also participated in this round. The new financing will support drug discovery and development efforts using f-star’s proprie-tary Modular Antibody Technology. The technology allows the engineering of new antigen binding sites into constant and variable domains of antibodies and has already led to the de-velopment of two promising molecular formats, Fcab™ and mAb2. Fcabs allow novel thera-peutic candidates to be isolated which, despite being one third the size of immunoglobulin G (IgG), retain all normal antibody functionalities (antigen binding, immune effector functions and long in vivo half life), while mAb2 technology provides the opportunity to add additional functionality, specificity, selectivity or potency to existing antibodies.

Dr Kevin FitzGerald, CEO of f-star, commented “We have completed this significant invest-ment round despite the current financial climate and I am pleased to welcome MPH and Merck Serono Ventures as new shareholders of f-star. Both MPH and Merck Serono Ven-tures are investors with a strong strategic focus and the connections they have with their parent pharmaceutical organisations will provide valued support for f-star as it moves product candidates into the clinic. I am also grateful to our existing investors, Atlas, Aescap, Novo and TVM Capital for their continued support and encouragement. This investment, coupled with a rapidly maturing technology and highly committed management and staff, provides a solid platform on which f-star can create novel medicines and grow significant value”.

Dr Jeff Moore, Vice President MPH commented: “After an extensive evaluation of next gen-eration antibody companies, f-star stood out with its simple yet powerful technology which has the potential advantages of smaller protein scaffolds while retaining the significant bene-fits of traditional antibodies”.

Roel Bulthuis, Head of Merck Serono Ventures added: “We are excited to join the f-star team and look forward to further supporting the development of f-star’s suite of technologies. f-star’s platform represents a unique opportunity to generate drug formats that could allow us to leverage our understanding of target biology in our core therapeutic areas”.

*** About f-star

f-star is an antibody engineering company based in Vienna, Austria and Cambridge, UK. The company develops improved therapeutic antibodies and antibody fragments based on its Modular Antibody Technology, which allows the introduction of additional binding sites into antibodies and antibody
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fragments by engineering the non-CDR loops of constant or variable domains. Using Modular Anti-body Technology f-star generates antibody fragments with full antibody functionality and long half-life but with much smaller size (Fcab™) and full antibodies with additional functionality or bispecificity (mAb2). Since its founding in 2006 the company has raised EUR 19.0m and has 20 employees at its research sites in Vienna and Cambridge. For more information, visit www.f-star.com About MPH MP Healthcare Venture Management, Inc. (MPH) is a life sciences venture capital firm, investing in in-novative companies developing novel therapeutics, platform technologies, vaccines and diagnostics. MPH invests in seed to late stage private companies, and investment is not limited by geographic re-gion. MPH is a jointly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC) and Mitsu-bishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC). For more information, visit www.mp-healthcare.com About Merck Serono Ventures Merck Serono Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital fund of Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The fund invests in biotech start-up companies that have the po-tential to provide novel products in Merck Serono’s core therapeutic areas comprising Neurodegenera-tive Diseases, Oncology, Autoimmune & Inflammatory Diseases, Endocrinology and Fertility. In addi-tion, Merck Serono Ventures invests in companies developing innovative platform technologies that could enable the discovery and development of new products in Merck Serono’s core therapeutic ar-eas. For more information, visit www.merckserono.com About Atlas Venture Atlas Venture is a leading early-stage international venture capital firm that invests in technology and life sciences businesses in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Since inception in 1980, its partners have helped build over 300 companies in more than 16 different countries. In the past decade, 44 portfolio companies have been acquired and 47 are now public companies with an aggregate market capitali-zation of over $15 billion. Atlas Venture manages over $2.5 billion in capital through offices in Boston and London. For more information, visit www.atlasventure.com About Aescap Venture Aescap Venture is a venture capital firm focusing on the creation and growth of European biomedical companies. Through early and active involvement in the companies, Aescap Venture will achieve an accelerated development of its portfolio companies and their products. Since its final close in July 2007, Aescap Venture has EUR 103m under management. The founders of Aescap are Michiel de Haan, the founder and CEO of Atlas Venture until 2000 and Dinko Valerio PhD, the founder and for-mer CEO of Crucell, a Euronext/ NASDAQ-listed biotechnology company. Additional Partners are Pat-rick Krol MBA, a successful entrepreneur and expert in Life Science marketing and business develop-ment and Kreske Nickelsen MSc/MBA, previously a Director at 3i, with 12 years of experience in European Life Science venture capital. For more information, visit www.aescap.com About Novo Ventures Novo A/S is the holding company of the Novo Group, and is wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foun-dation. Novo A/S was established in 1999 to manage the assets of the Foundation and actively make investments on behalf of the Foundation. Novo A/S is not a corporate strategic fund; Novo A/S invests for financial rather than strategic returns. Novo A/S is active in both Europe and North America. The Novo A/S venture investments are managed by a team of four Partners in Copenhagen, one in Lon-don and three in San Francisco. With an evergreen structure, Novo A/S annually invests approxi-mately EUR 200 million through Novo Ventures, Novo Seeds, and Novo Growth Equity. In total Novo
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A/S has more than EUR 7 billion under management, which includes significant shareholdings in the independently operating and publicly listed companies Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S. For more information, visit www.novo.dk About TVM Capital The TVM Capital Life Science Practice is, with EUR 900m (USD1.3bn) under management, one of the largest investors in venture and growth deals in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals in Europe, with a strong presence in the U.S. and a growing presence in Asia. The Life Science team builds on the ex-pertise, experience, international approach and demonstrated success in more than 100 previous in-vestments and more than 30 IPOs from its biotechnology and pharmaceutical portfolio of companies. For more information, visit www.tvm-capital.com

Pfingsten Partners Buys Motus3

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Pfingsten Partners has acquired Motus3 Cos., an Overland Park, Kansas-based maker of food processing equipment under the brand names Marlen and Carruthers. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which closed on December 31.


Private equity firm, Pfingsten Partners, L.L.C., announced the acquisition of Motus3 Companies, an Overland Park, KS-based designer and manufacturer of innovative food processing equipment for a variety of products including meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruit, bakery, confectioneries, snacks and dairy goods. Motus3 products are sold under the brand names Marlen and Carruthers, and are used for pumping, portioning, filling, dicing, grinding, slicing, reducing, chilling and cooking food.

Motus3’s highly engineered products, replacement parts, and field services have been used by blue chip food processors for more than 50 years. Strong brand recognition and customizable products for niche applications have enabled the company to achieve meaningful market share in a highly fragmented industry. Pfingsten plans to create a diversified food processing equipment platform through organic growth, strategic add-on acquisitions and geographic expansion. Going forward, the company will operate under the name Marlen International.

“Growing global demand for processed foods, a large installed base of equipment, and a meaningful replacement parts business made this an attractive opportunity for us,” said Thomas S. Bagley, Senior Managing Director, Pfingsten Partners, L.L.C. “We hope to leverage the company’s strong brand image with Pfingsten’s global capabilities to build an international manufacturer of niche food equipment and replacement parts spanning a broad range of food applications.”

“Pfingsten’s conservative capital structure enabled us to get a deal done with certainty,” said Motus3 President, Adam Anderson. “The new partnership will allow us to embark on our next stage of growth by immediately accessing new customers, expanding our geographic reach both domestically and internationally, and continuing further investment in new product development.”

Pfingsten Partners acquired the business in partnership with management on December 31, 2009, and marks the second platform investment for Pfingsten Partners’ $525 million Fund IV. Terms were not disclosed.

About Pfingsten Partners

Pfingsten Partners is an operationally focused private equity firm founded in 1989. From its headquarters in Chicago and offices in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, the firm builds better businesses through operational improvements, professional management practices, global capabilities and profitable business growth rather than financial engineering. Since completing its first investment in 1991, Pfingsten Partners has acquired 68 manufacturing, distribution and business service companies and has over $1.2 billion of capital under management. For more information, visit www.pfingstenpartners.com.

Acton Pharma Raises $15 Million

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Acton Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Marlborough, Mass.-based respiratory pharma startup, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital. The company also announced that it has licensed the Aerospan inhalation aerosol from Forest Labs (NYSE: FRX). 


Acton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Acton) today announced completion of a $15 million round of financing led by Sequoia Capital. Acton also announced today that it has completed a licensing agreement for AEROSPAN™ (flunisolide HFA, 80 mcg) Inhalation Aerosol from Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: FRX).

“We are very pleased to license AEROSPAN from Forest and to complete this round of financing with Sequoia Capital,” stated John W. Simon. “Partnering with Sequoia Capital, one of the world’s leading venture capital funds, validates the significant opportunity of our first product. Our shared vision with Sequoia Capital along with our strong capital structure will enable us to complete development of AEROSPAN and build a substantial sales, marketing, scientific, and business development infrastructure that we believe will attract new opportunities for clinical stage and marketed products.”

Acton was founded by Daniel L. Kreisler and John W. Simon. Mr. Kreisler has more than 25 years of commercial pharmaceutical experience, including 16 years at Forest Laboratories, Inc. and most recently at JDS Pharmaceuticals, where he was a co-founder and Vice President of Business Development. JDS was subsequently acquired by Noven Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 2007 for $125 million. Mr. Simon has 20 years of pharmaceutical experience, first with Forest Laboratories, Inc. and most recently, as a Vice President at Sepracor Inc., where he worked from 1997 to 2007. During his tenure, Mr. Simon launched and led Sepracor’s largest revenue producing franchise. Joining the management team is Patrick A. Noland, a 30-year veteran of drug development who is an expert in aerosol delivery technology working most recently at ABC Laboratories and Sepracor Inc.

“We believe that AEROSPAN is an exciting opportunity, as it provides Acton with an excellent platform on which to build our organization,” stated Daniel L. Kreisler. “AEROSPAN is the first and only approved HFA inhaled corticosteroid available with an integrated spacer device. With the on-going phase out of CFC inhalers, AEROSPAN has potential to be an important treatment option for patients suffering with asthma.”

David Solomon, Corporate Vice-President Business Development and Strategic Planning at Forest Laboratories, Inc. added, “We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Acton to complete development and commercialization of AEROSPAN. We believe Acton’s extensive experience in the respiratory field, along with its strong management team, will be well suited to bring AEROSPAN to the millions of patients who suffer from asthma.”

Joining Acton’s Board of Directors is Scott Carter who leads healthcare investing for Sequoia Capital in the U.S. “Acton is poised to achieve accelerated growth in the multi-billion dollar asthma market. We are excited to partner with a company that will bring important medicines to patients and healthcare providers that need them the most,” noted Carter.

The in-licensing of AEROSPAN, the management team’s respiratory drug development and commercialization experience, along with the plans to deploy a specialty sales force, makes Acton an ideal partner for companies seeking to develop and launch new products or co-market existing ones in the U.S.

About Sequoia Capital

Since 1972, Sequoia Capital has provided early stage and growth stage venture capital for very smart founders and executives who have turned great ideas into sustainable companies of enduring value. As the “Entrepreneurs Behind the Entrepreneurs”, Sequoia Capital’s Partners have worked with accomplished innovators and operators who built great franchises such as Ameritox, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, CV Therapeutics, eCardio Diagnostics, Flextronics, Google, Network Appliance, nVidia, Oracle, PayPal, Therasense, Yahoo!, YouTube and Zappos. To learn more about Sequoia Capital visit www.sequoiacap.com/us.

About Acton

Acton is a specialty respiratory pharmaceutical company dedicated to acquiring, developing, and commercializing prescription drugs to improve the well-being of patients. Acton’s corporate headquarters are located in Marlborough, Massachusetts.


AEROSPAN (flunisolide HFA, 80 mcg) is an inhaled corticosteroid used as a controller medication in the treatment of asthma. It was developed by Forest Laboratories and received FDA approval in January 2006. Inhaled steroids are recommended for patients who need more than a rescue inhaler for their asthma. AEROSPAN decreases inflammation by acting directly on the airways when inhaled into the lungs. Additionally, AEROSPAN decreases airway hyper-responsiveness, which makes airways less likely to strongly respond to an asthma trigger.

AEROSPAN is formulated with a non-CFC, ozone-friendly HFA propellant and is the only FDA approved HFA inhaler in its class to incorporate a built-in spacer device, which assists in the delivery of the medicine to the lung.

Important Safety Information

AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol is an orally inhaled corticosteroid indicated for the maintenance treatment of asthma as prophylactic therapy in adult and pediatric patients 6 years of age and older. AEROSPAN is not a bronchodilator and is not indicated for rapid relief of bronchospasm.

In clinical trials, AEROSPAN was generally well tolerated. Particular care is needed in patients transferred from systemically active corticosteroids to AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol because deaths due to adrenal insufficiency have occurred in asthmatic patients transferred from systemically active corticosteroids to less systemically active inhaled corticosteroids. The most common adverse reactions (>3%) were headache, fever, allergic reaction, bacterial infection, pain and back pain, vomiting, dyspepsia, pharyngitis, rhinitis, cough, sinusitis, epistaxis, rash, and urinary tract infection.

Treatment with orally inhaled corticosteroids may lead to signs or symptoms of hypercorticism, suppression of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function and/or suppression of growth in children. Glaucoma, increased intraocular pressure and cataracts have been reported following the administration of inhaled corticosteroids.

About Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disorder characterized by inflammation of the air passages, resulting in the temporary narrowing of the airways that transport air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), when taken every day, maintenance inhalers like AEROSPAN can help prevent the wheezing coughing, and tightening of the airways, which causes shortness of breath and can be life threatening. The NHLBI’s Expert Panel Report estimates that more than 22 million Americans have asthma. Annually, the disease is responsible for nearly two million emergency room visits and accounts for an estimated $11.5 billion in health care costs.

Cold Weather Is Wreaking Havoc Across the Northern Hemisphere

This post is by Connie Madon from BloggingStocks

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From the U.S. to Europe, to Asia, cold weather is wreaking havoc on travel and agriculture. The recent cold snap is is driving the price of oil and agricultural commodities to new highs for the year.

Demand for crude oil is up, pushing prices to a 15-month high. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, oil traded at $81.77 per barrel. Natural gas demand has climbed sharply in China, with prices up as much as 40% in some areas.

Continue reading Cold Weather Is Wreaking Havoc Across the Northern Hemisphere

Cold Weather Is Wreaking Havoc Across the Northern Hemisphere originally appeared on BloggingStocks on Wed, 06 Jan 2010 11:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Originate Ventures Promotes Matt Bieber

This post is by editor from PE Hub News: All News

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Originate Ventures has promoted Matt Bieber to principal. He joined the firm in May 2007 as a senior associate, after having worked at Bear Stearns.


Originate Ventures is pleased to announce that Matt Bieber has been promoted to Principal. Matt joined Originate Ventures May 2007 as a Senior Associate. He is the Fund’s primary contact for Business Plan submissions; directs the investment due diligence; conducts the financial modeling; and oversees the intern program.

Prior to joining Originate, Matt was with Bear Stearns in the Financial Analytics and Structured Transactions group (F.A.S.T.). Matt was also an investment banking analyst with Fairmount Partners, a regional investment banking boutique. He has been a member of Barclays Capital in the distressed debt group, an overseas research analyst for Deloitte & Touche, based in Prague and an intern for Senator Arlen Specter’s office in addition to a volunteer for former Senator Rick Santorum’s campaign.

Matt is an entrepreneur as well. While still in college he founded an online entertainment company focused on massive online role-playing games, which he rolled into IGE.com where he became a premier account vendor. Matt is currently the Treasurer of the Lehigh Valley Network of Young Professionals and has been a judge for Wharton’s VCIC competition. Matt is a graduate of Lehigh University with a BS in Business with a concentration in Financial Mathematics.

About Originate Ventures

Originate Ventures (www.OriginateVentures.com) is a venture capital investment firm, targeting early stage product and services companies located in Pennsylvania and the surrounding regions. We focus on investing in healthcare, consumer, information technology, web-based and certain commercial products and/or distribution opportunities. As an integral part of its portfolio management, Originate will help develop brand-driven growth strategies that guide the business direction and capitalize on the Managing Partners’ prior experience in growing companies. Our investments range from $500,000 to $4 million.

We believe our brand building techniques and experience uniquely permit us to accelerate growth and reduce additional capital rounds, allowing founding entrepreneurs to retain more ownership. Our almost three decades of experience, in over 60 categories, also allows us to better identify and assist in creating strong brands. Finally, we take pride in being Entrepreneurs first, though the Partners have strong track records as business owners and management consultants.

Could Chuck Schumer Succeed Dodd as Sen. Banking Committee Chairman?

This post is by Michael Corkery from WSJ.com: Deal Journal

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Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd is retiring. So who will take his place at the helm of the powerful Senate Banking Committee?

Bloomberg News
Sens. Charles Schumer and Jack Reed confer at a December hearing.

While the post is likely to go to the senior most Democrat on the committee, it is “not an iron clad” rule, says Jaret Seiberg, a financial-services policy analyst at Concept Capital, a Washington research Group.

(Dodd is expected to discuss his pending retirement during a news conference at noon.)

Deal Journal asked Seiberg to handicap who will become the next banking committee chairman and assess their potential relationship to the financial industry. Overall, Dodd had been kind to Wall Street, despite his recent populist turn in the face of a stiff re-election campaign. His likely successors could be even friendlier to parts of the industry than Dodd was.

The leading candidate is Sen. Tim Johnson, of South Dakota. While Johnson would normally be a shoo-in because of seniority, he hasn’t fully recovered from a stroke-like illness several years ago, which could complicate his chances. Johnson, whose state houses the operations of several credit-card issuers, is likely to head off a potentially overzealous consumer protection agency or what the industry considers onerous restrictions, such as interest-rate caps.

Next line in terms of seniority is Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed. A West Point graduate and former paratrooper, Reed is viewed by many in the financial industry as the Senate version of Barney Frank, the House Financial Service Committee chairman, Seiberg notes. Like Frank, Reed is a left-leaning Democrat, but he understands the complexity of the financial system and is unlikely to craft populist legislation that could have unintended consequences. That said, Reed has backed proposals that banks abhor, such as mortgage cram-downs (which allow a bankruptcy judge to rewrite mortgage terms)

A long shot would be New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Known for his anti-big-business statements, Schumer has actually championed legislation that helped lenders during the credit boom. “Schumer’s rhetoric may scare some, but his legislative work should be a plus for the industry,” Seiberg says. In the end, a Schumer-led panel would likely shy away from laws/regulations (such as breaking up the big banks) that could hurt the financial sector in his own backyard of New York.

What does his gut tell Seiberg? That mostly likely there will be some type of “gentlemen’s” power-sharing deal between Johnson and Reed, in which Johnson would serve as chairman and Reed would get more staff and help run the show as a subcommittee chairman.