In today’s Bulldog wrapup of technology and life science news:

  • Startup Validic reports fast growth
  • LinkedIn’s big acquisition
  • PPD forms a joint venture in Japan
  • Liquidia demos at vaccine congress
  • Zynga’s founder returns as CEO

The details:

  • Validic’s growth surges

Durham-based startup Validic is reporting rapid growth for its digital health platform technology, adding new clients, more users and additional capabilities. Some 36 clinical and fitness devices have been added for support.

“Validic is committed to delivering new, innovative and unique mobile health technologies to its customer base,” Drew Schiller, CTO and co-founder of Validic, said, Thursday. “We are excited to welcome several new integration partners, including Lumo, Biomedtrics and SunSprite. These devices are providing healthcare organizations with incredibly relevant and actionable clinical data to aid in the improvement of care and outcomes.”

The newest devices from Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone and Fitlinxx are supported. Plus, Validic has completed its integration to Apple HealthKit and has launched the integration in Beta to its clients. “With the Apple HealthKit integration, Validic provides its clients with the ability and tools to integrate Apple Health data into their iOS applications,” Validic says.

Validic also has launched a developer platform to allow mobile health devices and applications to build directly to Validic, the company adds. .

  • LinkedIn buying for $1.5 billion in cash and stock

LinkedIn is buying for about $1.5 billion in a cash-and-stock deal, adding the online learning and professional development company to its professional networking offerings.

Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn said Thursday that it will pay for the Carpinteria, California-based company with a combination of 52 percent cash and 48 percent stock. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter. It is by farLinkedIn’s largest acquisition so far, and one that should help the 12-year-old company expand its audience and the market it serves.

“We believe this deal makes a lot of sense for the leading professional network, since it would empower employees/subscribers to develop or further refine their skills (instead of simply reporting them on a profile page),” wrote Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali in a note to investors.

LinkedIn’s key focus is online professional networking. is a subscription service that allows members to access courses taught by experts, in multiple languages.LinkedIn estimates the professional certification and employee education market to be as much as $30 billion.

  • PPD forms joint venture in Japan

Wilmington-based PPD has formed a clinical development services joint venture in Japan with Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories Ltd.

“With the completion of the deal, PPD-SNBL is one of the largest clinical development service providers in Japan, both for clients seeking to conduct global clinical trials and for trials based solely in Japan,” PPD says.

“The new company combines SNBL’s clinical research division and PPD’s clinical development operations in Japan and provides a full range of services, including Phase I-IV clinical trial monitoring, project management, biostatistics, site intelligence and activation, data management, medical writing, pharmacovigilance, regulatory and FSP services.”

  • Liqudia demos PRINT at World Vaccine Congress

RTP-based Liquidia demoed its PRINT technology for use in vaccine development at the annual World Vaccines Congress this week in Washington, D.C.

“The PRINT technology is an innovative, highly tunable and scalable particle engineering process that allows Liquidia to precisely tailor particle size, shape, charge, hydrophobicity, and composition with the goal of optimizing a vaccine’s ability to elicit the desired immune response. By using a broad range of matrix materials formulated with antigens and adjuvants, Liquidia has leveraged its PRINT technology to design unique particle systems to generate superior humoral and cellular immune responses,” Liquidia noted.

  • Zynga founder returns as CEO

The return of Zynga founder Mark Pincus as the digital game maker’s CEO is bringing back bad memories about the problems that prompted him to step down as the company’s leader nearly two years ago.

Zynga’s stock shed 52 cents, or nearly 18 percent, to close Thursday at $2.38 as investors reacted to an abrupt change in command announced late Wednesday. It marked the largest one-day drop in Zynga’s stock price since July 2012, one of the low points during Pincus’ first stint as CEO.

Former Microsoft executive Don Mattrick replaced Pincus in 2013, but his turnaround attempt ended with his resignation late Wednesday. Pincus, Zynga’s controlling shareholder, reclaimed the CEO job instead of bringing in another outsider.

With Pincus at the helm, Zynga lost more than $600 million in 2011 and 2012 as once-trendy games like “FarmVille” fell out of favor. The downturn caused Zynga’s stock to drop more than 70 percent from its December 2011 initial public offering price of $10, pressuring Pincus to get help from a new CEO.