A Medical Device Daily

TheraGenetics (London/Cambridge, Massachusetts), a personalized medicine diagnostics company that is developing a portfolio of pharmacogenetic diagnostic tests to guide and improve the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders, has been acquired by the Avacta Group (York, UK) for an undisclosed amount.

Avacta seeks to develop detection and analysis technology aimed primarily at the pharmaceutical and healthcare markets. TheraGenetics is focused on developing pharmacogenetic diagnostic tests for schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

"We are pleased to announce the successful acquisition of TheraGenetics by Avacta," said Richard Kivel, TheraGenetics CEO. "We have made tremendous progress in our efforts to link genes to specific CNS disorders and advance the development of our diagnostic tests to determine patient response to treatment as well as drug side effects."

"This is an opportunity for Avacta to develop further its business in the diagnostics sector," added Avacta CEO Alastair Smith. "The ... integration of TheraGenetics and Curidium Medica within the enlarged group will create a strong intellectual property position in CNS personalized medicine that has the potential to be a significant asset to the group."

TheraGenetics will be acquired for a combination of cash and stock. Additionally, under the agreement, the U.S. operations will remain in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

NeuroMetrix (Waltham, Massachusetts), a company developing products to aid physicians in the assessment and treatment of diseases and injuries of peripheral nerves, and that provide regional anesthesia and pain control, said it has acquired certain technological and intellectual property assets from Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems (Foxborough, Massachusetts) and Andara Life Science, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cyberkinetics, for $350,000 in cash.

The acquired assets include all of Cyberkinetics' rights and regulatory filings for the Andara Oscillating Field Stimulator (OFS) technology for treatment of acute spinal cord injury, an investigational device designed to stimulate spinal cord repair and restore sensation; the rights to develop and commercialize a therapeutic product for peripheral nerve injury based on the Andara OFS neurostimulation technology; development and commercialization rights to certain derivatives of the pharmacological agent 4-aminopyridine that may be useful in the treatment of central and peripheral nervous system injury and disease; and certain other intellectual property and technology.

The Andara OFS System is presently under review by the FDA under a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) application for the treatment of acute complete spinal cord injuries, which affect about 4,000 people annually in the U.S. The FDA has posed additional questions as part of the HDE review and may require further clinical studies before granting marketing approval. NeuroMetrix said it will be in contact with FDA to discuss the status of the HDE and the next steps in the review process.

While pursing FDA approval through the HDE process, NeuroMetrix plans to explore international regulatory pathways, including in Europe.

In other dealmaking news:

• Impulse Monitoring (IM; Columbia, Maryland), a provider of intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) to hospitals, reported that it has purchased the IONM and autotransfusion (AT) assets of NVMS (Hendersonville, Tennessee) also known as Nursing Visioned Medical Services. The terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

IONM assesses neurological function involving the brain, spinal cord and related nerve structures during surgery. Use of IONM facilitates the surgical process and can reduce surgical risk by providing alerts to surgeons of potential harm to spinal cord or neural structure. AT is a process by which a patient's own blood is captured and cleaned and used for transfusion during a surgery instead of donated blood.

• Altarum Institute (Ann Arbor, Michigan) has purchased KAI Research (Rockville, Maryland). KAI will become a for-profit subsidiary and will continue to operate from its headquarters in Maryland.

"One of Altarum's core research thrusts is healthcare innovation and innovative care delivery. Purchasing KAI will add a completely new dimension to our effort," said Altarum President/CEO Lincoln Smith. "With the addition of KAI, we have a major opportunity to strengthen clinical research and to enhance the application of research-based knowledge for the most effective and safe healthcare practice."

KAI employs about 70 and generated more than $10 million in revenue in 2008. It provides support to the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, academic institutions and the National Institutes of Health. In addition, KAI's clinical research and information technology capabilities support potential preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic measures in healthcare practice.