Local companies tackling the "Big C" continue to attract the big bucks.

Last week, TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Malvern, said it raised $32 million in its latest financing, which was led by Clarus Ventures L.L.C., of Cambridge, Mass.

Other investors included Amgen Ventures, of San Diego; Hatteras Venture Partners, of Durham, N.C.; HealthCare Ventures L.L.C., of Princeton; Latterell Venture Partners, of San Francisco; Novitas Capital, of Wayne; Quaker BioVentures, of West Philadelphia; and the Vertical Group, of Summit, N.J.

Also this month, Gemin X Pharmaceuticals Inc. raised $8 million from its existing institutional investors, led by Caxton Advantage Life Sciences Fund L.P., of New York, and Sanderling Venture Partners, of San Mateo, Calif. That round of investment comes less than four months after Gemin X attracted $16 million.

What's intriguing is both companies are pursuing a similar approach to treating cancer: programmed cell death. TetraLogic's lead compound, known as TL32711, is being evaluated in an early Phase 1 study. Gemin X's lead product, called obatoclax, is preparing for a Phase 3 clinical trial.

TetraLogic has raised $76 million since it was formed in 2003. Gemin X has raised more than $100 million since it was founded in Montreal in 1998.

Those are some impressive amounts of capital raised by a couple of companies not based in the biotech hotbeds of California and Massachusetts.

Not a slam dunk?

   David M. Walker, president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a New York fiscal conservative advocacy group, was back in Philadelphia last week, speaking to the Foreign Policy Research Institute about the federal budget deficit and concerns over the growing national debt.

An accountant by training, he used a basketball metaphor in describing how difficult it would be to solve some structural budgetary problems that the United States now faces.

Walker, who is also a former head of the Government Accountability Office, described improving the solvency of the Social Security system as a "layup," acknowledging that plenty of players can still miss that high-percentage shot.

Addressing financial challenges associated with the most recent health-care system overhaul, he said, would be more like a "three-point shot from under the opponent's basket."

Jobs, jobs, jobs

The latest Survey of Professional Forecasters by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia had economists offering a weaker view of the U.S. economy than they did three months ago. No surprise there.

But the 36 forecasters offered up some dreadful predictions on the trends in payrolls. (Whatever the opposite of rose-colored glasses is, that's what they were wearing.)

They revised downward the growth in jobs over the next four quarters with nonfarm payroll employment rising at a rate of 8,000 jobs per month during the summer and 114,100 per month during the fall. But when they calculated an annual average level for 2010, the result is job losses running at a monthly rate of 45,200.

Next year would bring job gains of 143,800 per month on average, they say. Though that sounds better, it's still below the 200,000 level that economists say is the minimum needed to begin to reduce the unemployment rate, which was 9.5 percent in July.