A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Veran Medical Technologies (St. Louis), a device start-up, reported securing $4.75 million in venture capital and private financing that it will use, it said, to drive adoption of its IG4 delivery system for minimally invasive biopsy and ablation of cancer.

Prolog Ventures led the round, joined by Advantage Capital Partners and existing private investors. Veran also relocated its headquarters from Nashville, Tennessee, to St. Louis in order, it said, to build relationships with the local medical community.

When diagnosed at Stage 1, lung cancer survival rates approach 90%. If diagnosed beyond Stage 1, lung cancer survival rates fall to below 15%, the company noted. And the company noted that cancer screening will increase the already overwhelming demand for biopsies needed for complete diagnosis.

The Veran IG4 system and instruments are designed to enable efficient targeting of very small lesions. The system aims to give clinicians the confidence to treat patients earlier in the disease cycle without subjecting patients to unnecessary complication risk, Veran said, and "aims to deliver throughput efficiency that hospitals can capitalize on. Finally, the IG4 products hope to move cancer treatment earlier in the disease cycle, which is far more economical and beneficial than expensive later stage surgeries and medicines."

"Incidental screening" is occurring at a high rate due to the 7 million chest CT scans performed annually in the U.S. as patients are examined for other co-morbidities, it said, "leading to detection of potential cancer much earlier in the disease cycle. Tools are needed to encourage early treatment through safe, efficient biopsies and resection or ablation."

"There is no doubt that early detection and treatment is the key to cancer care," said Greg Johnson, managing director at Prolog. "Veran's products intend to fill a very critical need in medicine today. We believe that Veran's products will be instrumental in improving the efficacy of therapies for certain diseases such as lung cancer."

Veran is a privately held image-guided device company developing systems for minimally invasive delivery of oncology therapies.

In other financing news:

• Somanetics (Troy, Michigan) reported board authorization for repurchasing up to an additional $15 million of its common shares for a total of $30 million of its common shares.

The company makes the INVOS Cerebral/Somatic Oximeter system, a noninvasive patient monitoring system designed to continuously measure changes in the blood oxygen levels in the brain and elsewhere in the body, in somatic, or skeletal muscle, tissue in patients with or at risk for restricted blood flow.

Citing the continued increasing sales of its PathFinderTG, RedPath Integrated Pathology (Pittsburgh) reported its expansion and relocation into new headquarters in Pittsburgh and the growth of its work force which now totals 50, up from 20 a year ago.

The company also reported that it has closed an insider round of financing for $3 million. The proceeds of the transaction will support the company's continued growth and expansion in the region, it said.

The company recently moved into its new 20,000 square foot headquarters at 2515 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh's Strip District.

"NewSpring Capital has been an investor in RedPath from the beginning and we are pleased to lead in this latest investment round," said Brian Murphy, chairman of RedPath's board and a partner in NewSpring Capital, which invests in biopharmaceutical, medical devises and healthcare services companies. "RedPath has seen significant returns on its groundbreaking work and is well-positioned to help change the way cancers are diagnosed."

The company said its PathFinderTG represents a significant advance in minimally intrusive and early diagnosis of cancer.

RedPath said it has quadrupled its sales force and expects sales to triple over the next 12 months.