A Medical Device Daily

TissueLink Medical (Dover, New Hampshire), a private company that develops disposable surgical devices that reduce or eliminate bleeding in surgery, reported that completing a Series E $20 million financing.

Current investors Arnerich Massena & Associates and RiverVest Venture Partners led the round.

The company said the financing will enable it to expand its sales and marketing organization, further develop its products and fund working capital requirements.

TissueLink's Aquamantys technology is used to control bleeding in solid organ resections, orthopedic reconstruction and spine surgery.

"The Aquamantys System, launched in 1Q06 continues to gain market acceptance," said Joseph Army, president/CEO of TissueLink. "This financing will fund the continued expansion of our direct sales force and new product development based on the Aquamantys System platform."

Separately, TissueLink reported that Jay Schmelter has been elected as chairman of the board. A co-founder of TissueLink, Schmelter is managing director of RiverVest, a venture capital firm investing in emerging medical device and biopharmaceutical companies.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J; New Brunswick, New Jersey) reported that its board has approved a share repurchase program, authorizing the company to purchase up to $10 billion of the corporation's shares of common stock. The company currently has about 2.9 billion outstanding shares.

The company said it will finance the buyback plan with available cash and debt, and expects to retain its triple-A credit rating.

J&J can ultimately buy back about 5.5% of its outstanding stock at the current price level. As of March 31, the company had just over $5 billion in cash.

"This share repurchase program is consistent with our strategy of providing value to our shareholders while maintaining flexibility to continue to invest in future growth opportunities," said William Weldon, CEO and chairman.

Share repurchases will take place on the open market based on market conditions. The program has no time limit and may be suspended for periods or discontinued at any time. Any shares acquired will be available for general corporate purposes.

J&J said it will discuss the repurchase plan during its 2Q earnings conference call July 17.

Debt rating agency Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said its "AAA/Stable" ratings on the healthcare company isn't affected by the buyback program. It said that although J&J will likely use debt financing for most, if not all, of the share repurchases, the agency expects financial measures will remain consistent with the superior rating.

S&P surmised that "an anticipated weakening in operating performance, driven mainly by the pending loss of market exclusivity for significant products while replacements are either new to the market or still finishing development, is a factor leading to management's decision to embark on this largest-ever repurchase program."

In other financing news:

  • Milestone Scientific (Livingston, New Jersey), a developer of injection technologies, reported securing a $1 million revolving line of credit, expiring Dec. 31, 2008, from what it called "a major shareholder."

"In light of Milestone's management team's current discussions with companies in the medical arena, coupled with this line of credit and our current cash on hand, we believe there will be no need to direct management's attention to raising additional capital during the next 12 months," said Leonard Osser, CEO and chairman of Milestone,

Milestone is the developer of CompuFlo, a system for the painless delivery of local anesthetic. CompuFlo is a computer-controlled, pressure-sensitive infusion, perfusion, suffusion and aspiration technology providing real-time readouts of pressures, fluid densities and flow rates, enabling the delivery and removal of a wide array of fluids. The Single Tooth Anesthesia (STA) computer-controlled local anesthesia delivery system which uses this technology provides dentists with audible and visual signals as to in-tissue pressure.

Borrowings will bear interest at 6% per year, and borrowings and repayments under the line may be made from time to time until the expiration date of the line. All borrowings and interest must be repaid by June 30, 2010, and after the expiration date of the line, may be repaid by Milestone, at its option, in shares of common stock. After Dec. 31, 2008, the lender may convert the outstanding balance and interest into shares of common stock at $4 a share.

  • MGT Capital Investments (London), an investment company focused on the healthcare information technology (HIT) sector, reported that its CEO and chairman, Tim Paterson-Brown, has paid $5 million to purchase 1 million shares of company stock from an existing shareholder in a private placement.

MGT is an investment company with two direct HIT subsidiaries: Medicsight , which is a developer of computer-aided detection and computer-assisted reader software; Medicexchange operates Medicexchange.com, an online multi-vendor sales channel for diagnostic, treatment and surgery planning solutions for cardiac, thoracic, breast imaging, orthopedic, and gastrointestinal imaging.