A Medical Device Daily

TheraGenetics (London), an emerging personalized-medicine diagnostics company focused on central nervous system (CNS) disorders, reported the appointment of Heiner Dreismann, PhD, as chairman of the board.

Dreismann most recently served as president and CEO of Roche Molecular Systems, the division of Hoffmann-La Roche that pioneered clinical molecular diagnostics.

TheraGenetics CEO Richard Kivel said Dreismann “is counted among the earliest and most influential pioneers in the molecular diagnostics industry. His unparalleled expertise will be essential as we guide TheraGenetics through research, development and commercialization of new pharmacogenetic diagnostic tests for individual therapeutic response prediction in CNS disorders.”

Dreismann said TheraGenetics’ technology offers “a fundamental advance in the new era of personalized medicine. The days of trial and error-based prescribing are numbered as we continue to expand the use of pharmacogenetics to match the right patient to the right drug, prior to the initiation of therapy.”

He added that TheraGenetics has “a bright future and I am excited to be part of this team.”

Kivel said the company’s initial therapeutic focus is in schizophrenia, with several diagnostic tests designed to identify which patient is most likely to respond to a specific drug and experience the least amount of side effects.

“We are targeting late 2008 to launch these clinically important tests,” the company said. It also is developing a suite of personalized medicine predictive tests for additional CNS conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and mood disorders.

TheraGenetics was created as a spin-out of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. Current investors include Swarraton Partners, Tudor Ventures, IP Group and Kinetique Biomedical Seed Fund.

WaveLight board backs Alcon deal

Alcon (Huenenberg, Germany), which last week reported increasing its offer for WaveLight (Erlangen, Germany) by 50% (Medical Device Daily; Aug. 16, 2007), said it has received a joint recommendation issued by WaveLight’s executive committee and supervisory board which states strong support for the Alcon tender offer and recommends that WaveLight’s shareholders tender their shares to Alcon.

In their recommendation, the German firm’s executive committee and supervisory board assess Alcon’s increased offer price of 115 a share, as “very attractive.”

The tender offer acceptance period began on Aug. 13 and will conclude on Sept. 11. Alcon, which currently owns on a settled basis or has contractual commitments for more than 19% of WaveLight’s shares, has said it intends to acquire at least 75% of WaveLight’s issued shares.

WaveLight’s products include the Allegretto laser system for refractive eye surgery.

When they reported the acquisition plans last month, the companies said the Allegretto laser has a global installed base of more than 800 units and offers the fastest ablation speed on the market today. Alcon said the addition of that technology and the combination of the two companies’ capabilities “will further reinforce Alcon’s leadership in the important surgical channel represented by surgeons who perform both intraocular lens implantation and laser refractive surgery.”

Alcon is a global leader in eye care, with 2006 sales of about $4.9 billion. It manufactures pharmaceuticals, surgical equipment and devices, contact lens care solutions and other vision care products. The company’s majority shareholder is food products giant Nestl .

UK sets social enterprise investment fund

UK Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis reported the opening of a £73 million Social Enterprise Investment Fund for health and social care. Applications for the money can now be made to set up and build social enterprises that meet specific needs and provide services that will benefit local communities.

Lewis launched the fund, spread over four years, on a visit to social entrepreneurs from the North West region at the Kath Locke Center in Hulme.

In making the announcement, he said, “We look forward to being able to give social enterprises the funding and support they need to help turn their innovative ideas into reality and make a real difference to the communities they serve.”

He said that social enterprise has “a strong track record of revolutionizing services in other sectors and has the potential to transform the way services are delivered in health and social care.”