A Medical Device Daily

Astute Medical (San Diego) reported that it has raised $6.25 million in an initial financing round led by De Novo Ventures.

The company said the proceeds will primarily be used to fund R&D aimed at the identification and validation of protein biomarkers with the goal of finding high potential diagnostic candidates.

"This investment is an exciting event that lays the foundation for our research and development activities," said CEO Christopher Hibberd.

Astute, founded in 2007, is led by Christopher Hibberd and Paul McPherson, PhD, former members of the management at Biosite (San Diego), a diagnostics company that was acquired by Inverness Medical Innovations (Waltham, Massachusetts) in 2007 for $1.7 billion (Medical Device Daily, May 11, 2007). Hibberd served at Biosite for 10 years, most recently as senior VP corporate development. McPherson was at Biosite for 14 years, most recently as VP of R&D.

Astute said it is focused on improving diagnosis of high-risk medical conditions and diseases through the identification and validation of protein biomarkers that can serve as the basis for novel diagnostic tests.

The company's focus is on community- and hospital-acquired acute conditions that require rapid diagnosis and risk assessment. Its current areas of interest include abdominal pain, acute coronary syndrome, acute kidney injury, congestive heart failure, sepsis and cerebrovascular disease.

North American Scientific (NAS; Chatsworth, California) reported that it has filed an amendment to its Amended Certificate of Incorporation that implements a 1-for-5 share reverse split of the company's outstanding common stock.

The reverse stock split became effective for shareholders of record yesterday.

As a result of the reverse split, each five shares of common stock will be combined and reclassified into one share of common stock, and the total number of shares outstanding will be reduced to about 18.5 million shares from about 92.4 million shares. The common stock will trade under a new symbol NASM.

NAS provides radiation therapy products for treating cancer. Its products, Prospera brachytherapy seeds and SurTRAK needles and strands, are used primarily in the treatment of prostate cancer. In addition the company said it plans to commercialize its ClearPath multi-channel catheter breast brachytherapy devices.

In other financing news:

• Invitrogen (Carlsbad, California) reported that its board has approved a two-for-one stock split of the company's common stock.

The board established May 16 as the record date and May 27 as the date on which additional shares will be distributed to shareholders.

Invitrogen is a provider of life science technologies for research, production and diagnostics. This will be the company's first stock split since it went public on the Nasdaq Exchange in 1999, it said.

• Emeritus (Seattle), a national provider of assisted living and related services to senior citizens, reported that it has refinanced $112 million of mortgage debt on 18 of its existing communities. The new loan of $129 million has a term of 10 years at a fixed rate of 6.21%.

The 18 properties are cross collateralized. The new mortgage is being provided by Capmark Finance and purchased by Freddie Mac (McLean, Virginia).

In connection with this transaction, Emeritus will incur a one-time charge of about $3 million related to prepayment penalties and the write-off of unamortized deferred loan fees on the original debt.

The company received about $14.4 million in cash proceeds as a result of the transaction, which will be used for general corporate purposes.