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Light Sciences Oncology

A Snoqualmie company pursuing a treatment for one of the world’s leading cancer killers announced a $35 million venture-funding round yesterday.

Light Sciences Oncology will use the cash to run a Phase 3 clinical trial of an experimental treatment for solid tumors using its proprietary Light Infusion Technology. The trial, expected to begin early next year, will treat about 270 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, or primary liver cancer, at three sites in Asia, where the disease is more common than in the United States.

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The funding round was led by Essex Woodlands Health Ventures and included Adams Street Partners, Johnson and Johnson Development, China Development Industrial Bank and Larkspur Capital.

President and Chief Executive Dr. Llew Keltner said the company worked hard to get an Asian bank involved because the company may pursue additional clinical operations, manufacturing and marketing in Asia.


Startup names president, CEO

Seattle biotech startup Ikaria named Dr. Flemming Ornskov, most recently head of global pharmaceutical giant Novartis’ ophthalmics unit, its president and chief executive yesterday.

The company seeks to commercialize a temporary hibernation technique performed on mice at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center that could have applications in treating human patients in critical condition.


Union expects layoffs in Wichita

Boeing’s Wichita defense facility plans to lay off 130 to 135 hourly workers, a top Machinists union official said Tuesday.

Boeing told the union that 60-day layoff notices would be issued tomorrow, Machinists union District 70 President Steve Rooney said.

One Boeing employee said that in a crew meeting Tuesday, his manager said Boeing also will lay off about 100 support personnel.

Boeing notified SPEEA that it is trying to determine which jobs could be cut, said Bob Brewer, Midwest director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.

Boeing did not confirm or deny layoffs.

Washington Mutual

Thrift falls outside Spitzer ruling

A federal judge issued an order yesterday blocking New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer from demanding information from banks as part of his investigation into whether they discriminate in making home loans. The court also blocked Spitzer from suing banks to enforce state fair-lending laws, deciding in favor of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which claimed it had exclusive authority to regulate nationally chartered banks.

The decision does not apply to Washington Mutual, the Seattle thrift, which is not regulated by the OCC, said WaMu spokesman Alan Gulick. Calls to Spitzer’s office were not returned.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff and Knight-Ridder Newspapers