Exit watch, week of July 20, 2009

Portola agrees to $470M licensing deal with Merck

Merck & Co
. (NYSE: MRK) has bought exclusive rights from Portola Pharmaceuticals, to develop and commercialize an oral blood thinner, used to prevent strokes in patients suffering from atrial fibrillation. The deal includes a $50 million up-front payment, plus up to $420 million in milestone-based earnouts. It comes just months after Portola signed a similar deal with Novartis, for an anti-clotting agent, valued at up to $575 million.

Portola has raised about $220 million in VC funding from Abingworth Management, Advanced Technology Ventures, AllianceBernstein, Alta Partners, Brookside Capital, CIDC Consulting, D.E. Shaw, Frazier Healthcare Ventures, Goldman Sachs, IBT Management Corp., MPM Capital, Prospect Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, Teachers’ Private Capital, T. Rowe Price, Apothecary Capital, Janus Capital and PAC-Link BioVentures.

Digi scoops up MobiApps
Digi International Inc. (Nasdaq: DGII) has acquired MobiApps Holdings, a Herndon, Va.-based developer of machine-to-machine communications solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. MobiApps had raised about $18 million in VC funding from Intel Capital, Green DotCapital, UOB Venture Management and 3i Group.

Synovis buys Pegasus for $12.1M
Synovis Life Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: SYNO) has agreed to acquire the assets of Pegasus Biologics Inc., an Irvine, Calif.-based developer of bioimplants for soft-tissue repair. The deal is valued at $12.1 million in cash. Pegasus ceased operations earlier this year, after being unable to secure new financing. It had previously raised $32 million over three funding rounds from Onset Ventures, Affinity Capital Management, Three Arch Partners and Frazier Healthcare Ventures.

Nuance nabs JottNuance Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN) has acquired Jott Networks Inc., a Seattle-based startup that converts voice into text and delivers it via email. No financial terms were disclosed. Jott had raised about $7.4 million in VC funding from Bain Capital Ventures, Draper Richards, Ackerley Partners and Atomico.

Microtune buys Auvitek for $9M
Microtune Inc. (Nasdaq: TUNE) has agreed to acquire Auvitek International Ltd., a Fremont, Calif.-based maker of ICs for the digital TV and multimedia convergence markets. The deal is valued at about $9 million in cash and stock. Auvitek has raised about $13 million in VC funding from KLM Capital Group, Storm Ventures, VenGlobal Capital and Scale Venture Partners.

Pierian merges with iZumi

iZumi Bio Inc., a South San Francisco-based regenerative medicine company, has merged with fellow stem cell company Pierian Inc. The merger is being financed by $11.5 million in new capital, including $10 million from existing Pierian backer MPM Capital. iZumi had previously raised $20 million from Highland Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The combined company will be named iPierian Inc.