The Daily Start-Up: Biotechs Find Niche With Rare-Disease Treatments

Top stories in today’s VentureWire:

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas

Biotechnology venture capitalists used to focus on drugs for the most common diseases, but increasingly they’re targeting the rarest, VentureWire reports. As start-ups struggle to secure large sums to fund big clinical trials of treatments for diabetes, heart disease and other common ailments, investors are targeting diseases affecting thousands–or even hundreds–of people.

SteelHouse has raised a $6.3 million Series B round for a behavioral commerce platform that helps online retailers understand shopping habits and drive more sales. Such retargeting has been a popular method of e-commerce marketing, leading to a few acquisitions of companies offering such technology.

Also in today’s VentureWire: Wall Street banking giant Goldman Sachs played a key role in Solyndra’s rise, soliciting investors with soaring revenue projections and adding credibility to the solar panel maker as it eventually proceeded to secure a $535 million loan guarantee from a federal government program, VentureWire reports…as it begins raising up to $200 million for its next life science, technology and energy investment fund, Lux Capital Management said it has promoted three of its team members…and Evolven Software, a maker of change and configuration management software for data centers, has secured a new round of financing from existing investors Pitango Venture Capital and Index Ventures.

(VentureWire is a daily newsletter with comprehensive analysis of all the investments, deals and personnel moves involving start-ups and their venture backers. For a two-week trial, click here.)

Elsewhere around the Web:

SAP’s $3.4 billion agreement to buy SuccessFactors,  could signal a wave of acquisitions as businesses embrace online software, The Wall Street Journal reports.

There’s plenty of venture activity outside Silicon Valley, OpenView Venture Partners says in a new report that zeros in on places such as the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., areas.

One hot area for start-ups is New York, and Facebook has added to the Big Apple’s appeal with a plan to open an engineering center at its new offices near Grand Central Terminal, its first such hub not on the West Coast.

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