A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Advanced Medical Optics (AMO; Santa Ana, California) reported reporchasing about $124 million principal amount of its 3.25% convertible senior subordinated notes, due 2026, for around $51.8 million, and about $57 million principal amount of its 2.5% convertible senior subordinated notes, due 2024, for around $45.3 million.

The repurchases were made in accordance with negotiated transactions with holders of the notes that had previously contacted AMO. The company funded the repurchases by drawing about $97 million on its senior revolving credit facility.

On Sept. 26, the company reported total debt outstanding of about $1.54 billion. Taking into account the draw down on the revolver and the bond purchases, AMO said it achieved a reduction in total debt of about $84 million. The company also said it has nearly $200 million in remaining borrowing capacity under its senior revolving credit facility.

"Through these actions, AMO was able to take advantage of favorable bond pricing and reduce total debt levels," said Jim Mazzo, CEO and chairman of AMO. "We intend to continue to take proactive steps to use our cash flows and other funding sources to efficiently accelerate our debt reduction."

The company said it does not intend to purchase any additional convertible notes at this time.

AMO makes devices for ophthalmology, including diagnostic instruments and products used in ocular surgery and laser vision correction.

VentriPoint Diagnostics reported that its wholly-owned subsidiary, VentriPoint (Seattle), has secured a $1 million one-year term loan from Joseph Ashley, president/CEO of VentriPoint.

The company said that proceeds from the loan will be used in part to support the beta trials of the VentriPoint diagnostic system, commenced this past week. It said the funds will provide the working capital to finance expansion of the beta trials into three other key sites, two in the U.S. and one in Europe, and to prepare for commercialization.

"We are optimistic that we will receive the necessary regulatory clearance to proceed with commercialization of the VentriPoint diagnostic system in Canada and Europe in January 2009," said Ashley.

Interest on the loan will accrue at 8% per year, deferred to loan maturity on Oct. 20, 2009. Optional conversion into subsequent offerings, contingent early retirement provisions and general terms are subject to requisite TSX Venture Exchange approval.

VentriPoint develops diagnostic tools for heart disease monitoring.

In other financing news:

• Predictive Biosciences (Lexington, Massachusetts), an emerging molecular diagnostics company developing non-invasive diagnostic products for informed cancer management, reported the closing of a $21.75 million Series B financing.

New investor New Enterprise Associates (NEA), a global healthcare and technology venture capital firm, led the financing with additional new participation from Kaiser Permanente Ventures, an investment arm of Kaiser Permanente.

The existing investors from the company's $10 million Series A financing – Flybridge Capital Partners and Highland Capital Partners – also participated in the "B" round.

In conjunction with this financing, Predictive Biosciences has appointed to its board of directors M. James Barrett, PhD, general partner with NEA, along with Jordan Kramer, senior venture manager at Kaiser Permanente Ventures, as a board observer.

Predictive said it intends to use the proceeds from the Series B financing to complete current clinical validation studies and initiate multi-center clinical trials. Its biomarkers are applicable across multiple cancer types and it is initially focused on diagnostic applications in bladder cancer.

The company also is exploring the application of its assays in breast, prostate, ovarian and colorectal cancers. In addition, the funds will support the company's efforts to open an independent Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-compliant lab for diagnostic testing.

• Micronics (Redmond, Washington), a developer of molecular and immuno-hematology diagnostic products, said it has completed a Series C financing led by the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund. Patrick Morand, managing director of the fund, has joined Micronics' board of directors as a result of its participation.

The Series C financing complements the company's Series B financing that was completed earlier this year. Private investors led the Series B financing. Together, these two financings are expected to result in $9 million in new capital being infused into Micronics.

"Micronics is poised to advance a new class of clinical diagnostic tests, and the Series C provides additional leverage to advance product development, including clinical testing required for initial product launch," said President/CEO Karen Hedine.

She added, "Earlier investments in the company made it possible for Micronics to build a formidable technology platform, particularly with respect to rapid DNA and RNA testing in a disposable device. We are now able to apply that established technology platform to a number of products in development that will be responsive to global healthcare needs for improved infectious disease detection and diagnosis."

• BioImagene (Cupertino, California), a provider of scalable digital pathology solutions, said Siemens Venture Capital (SVC) has joined as a new investor in the company, following on the recent closing of a $26 million Series D financing round led by Burrill & Co. and the appointment of Dr. Ajit Singh of Siemens Healthcare's Image and Knowledge Group as CEO of BioImagene.

BioImagene said it would use the investment from SVC to scale operations to extend its position in digital pathology. The company plans to accelerate the adoption of digital pathology with continued product development and rapid expansion in the European and Asian markets.

Steven Burrill, chairman of BioImagene, said, "We are ... pleased that Siemens Venture Capital has chosen to invest in BioImagene. Their extensive experience in oncology and radiology will help shape and expand the digital pathology industry."

BioImagene provides digital pathology solutions for acquiring, viewing, managing, analyzing, reporting and sharing images in the pathology laboratory. The company said its tools have "improved productivity, quality of results and simultaneously lowered the cost of entry into digital pathology."

• Response Biomedical (Vancouver, British Columbia) reported that it has entered into an agreement with a placement agent to offer for sale, on a best efforts basis and by private placement, an aggregate of 30,555,556 units at a price of 18 cents per unit, each unit consisting of one common share and one-half of one common share purchase warrant, for gross proceeds of about $5.5 million.

Net proceeds of the offering will be used to manufacture product for the launch of the flu test partnered with 3M Medical (Minneapolis) and the cardiovascular line partnered with Roche Diagnostics (Indianapolis), as well as the day-to-day operations of the company.

Under the rules of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), the private placement financing would ordinarily require that the company seek and obtain shareholder approval prior to completion of the transaction as a result of the fact that the transaction will result in the issuance of common shares representing more than 25% of the number of common shares issued prior to closing. However, pursuant to Section 604(3) of the TSX company manual, Response will be making an application to the TSX for an exemption from this requirement on the basis that the company is in serious financial difficulty, the transaction is designed to improve the company's financial situation and the transaction is reasonable in the circumstances.

"This ... financing is critical to our company's ability to continue as a going concern and to provide the means to move our enviable breadth of point-of-care (POC) products toward an expanded and market leading global presence," said S. Wayne Kay, CEO of Response.

The placement agent will be paid a commission of 7% of the gross proceeds of the offering, paid in cash on the closing date.

BlueCrest Capital Finance (Chicago) has provided $15 million in new debt financing to superDimension (Minneapolis), a company commercializing what it says is the first minimally invasive system to access distant areas of the lungs.

superDimension created a minimally invasive bronchial navigation system that it said represents a major breakthrough in the early diagnosis and potential treatment of lung cancer. Similar to GPS (global positioning system) technology, the inReach system provides a roadmap of the lungs and uses catheters to reach the distant areas of the lungs where early stage lung cancers can be found. The system is marketed to pulmonologists working in hospital-based bronchoscopy suites as well as to thoracic surgeons and radiation oncologists.