Tarsa Therapeutics tops among Phila. venture investments in 4th qtr.

Life-sciences firms attracted most of the venture capital invested locally during the fourth quarter.

The MoneyTree report, issued by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, shows $142.1 million in invested in 28 companies in the Philadelphia metropolitan region. But that number falls to $84.3 million when you exclude the seven deals for Princeton-area companies.

Of that amount, $61.5 million was raised by four local health-care companies: Tarsa Therapeutics Inc., of Philadelphia; Quinnova Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Newtown; Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc., of Philadelphia, and MobileMD Inc., of Warminster.

The biggest non-Princeton deal in the fourth quarter was $24 million invested in Tarsa, which moved into 8 Penn Center, 1628 John F. Kennedy Blvd., on Monday.

Tarsa was launched last fall by three venture-capital firms, including Philadelphia’s Quaker BioVentures, and a Boonton, N.J., drug company, Unigene Laboratories Inc.

Unigene licensed its oral calcitonin formulation to Tarsa, which hopes to complete enrollment of Phase III clinical trials within the next 30 days, said Tarsa president and CEO David Brand. Calcitonin is available in injectable and intranasal forms as a treatment for osteoporosis.

Brand, a former senior executive at GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C., said Tarsa employs 10 people, including some who became available following cuts by big drug companies.

The $24 million provided by Quaker, Boston’s MVM Life Science Partners and Denmark’s Novo A/S should be plenty to get Tarsa through Phase III testing. Brand said the company would then file a New Drug Application for its once-a-day calcitonin tablet with the Food and Drug Administration in mid- to late 2011.

Another Outlook

One economic forecaster who can find the fun in any economic funk is Holland, Pa.’s Joel L. Naroff.

He will speak at La Salle University’s 9th Annual Economic Outlook Forum on Wednesday at noon. His speech is entitled “The Recovery: Gangbusters or Just a Bust?”

Expect a generous helping of humor at this lunch program at the Union League of Philadelphia. Tickets are $55 per person. For more information, call 215-991-3595.