A Medical Device Daily

UK venture capital firm Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) said it has led a $17 million investment in Heartscape Technologies (Columbia, Maryland), which recently launched a device for the early diagnosis of heart attacks in emergency department (ED) patients.

The company said its device, the Prime ECG, designed primarily for use in hospital EDs, has received FDA approval. The device is intended to provide doctors with more detailed images and information on a patient's heart than traditional electrocardiograms (ECGs).

"For heart attack victims rapid diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death and impacts a patient's long-term prognosis. A significant opportunity exists for Prime ECG to benefit patients by improving the speed of diagnosis and hospital efficiency in managing high-risk cardiovascular patients," said Heartscape Technologies CEO Arthur Hiller.

Heartscape said it would use the new funds for the commercial launch of Prime ECG in the U.S. and for further clinical development.

SEP led second-round funding as part of an international investment syndicate, which includes Investor Growth Capital of Sweden and existing investors Radius Ventures (New York) and Delta Partners (Ireland).

"Prime ECG represents the first major advance in non-invasive cardiovascular diagnostic devices for years. Clinical results have demonstrated its effectiveness as a front-line diagnostic tool and we believe it has the potential to become the standard of care in this field. It is precisely this sort of breakthrough and disruptive technology that builds value for investors and increases the standard of healthcare. We are pleased to add Heartscape to our portfolio of healthcare pioneers," said Brian Kerr, investment director of SEP's Healthcare and Life Sciences team.

Kerr and co-investor Dr. Joachim Werr of Investor Growth Capital in Europe will join the board of Heartscape.

The Prime ECG system, initially developed from technology licensed from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, is comprised of a disposable plastic vest with 11 self-adhesive plastic strips containing 80 data collection points or leads which are attached to the front and back of a patient's body, the company said. It is designed to allow doctors to gather critical information that may not be visible with traditional ECG devices.

In the U.S. more than eight million people visit emergency rooms suffering from chest pain every year and 1 million of them suffer heart attacks. The standard 12-lead ECG identifies roughly one-third of the most serious of these heart attacks.

According to Heartscape, however, the remaining two-thirds of patients present a more difficult diagnostic challenge for physicians. Research has demonstrated that heart attack diagnosis is missed in 2% of patients seeking help in U.S. emergency rooms and 6% in the UK. Also, one of every eight patients suffering an acute myocardial infarction has been shown to have high-risk findings that are not identified, and thus they fail to receive appropriate care, the company noted.

In other financing news:

• Sequenom (San Diego) said it has obtained commitments from several new and existing unaffiliated institutional investors to buy $20 million of its common stock.

Sequenom will sell about 6.6 million shares at $3 a share, representing a premium to the last sale price on April 24 of $2.99. The transaction is subject to certain customary closing conditions and is expected to close around April 27. The aggregate gross proceeds of the offering are expected to be roughly $20 million and aggregate net proceeds, after deducting the placement agents' fees and estimated offering expenses payable by Sequenom, are expected to be about $18.4 million.

Sequenom's MassARRAY system is a high-performance nucleic acid analysis platform designed to efficiently and precisely measure the amount of genetic target material and variations therein. According to the company the system is able to deliver reliable and specific data from complex biological samples and from genetic target material that is only available in trace amounts.

Lehman Brothers served as lead placement agent, and Rodman & Renshaw served as co-placement agent.

• CryoCor (San Diego) said it has entered into a securities purchase agreement in connection with a private placement with a group of accredited investors. The company received about $5.45 million in gross proceeds from the sale of 1,052,423 shares of its common stock priced at $5.14 a share, the closing bid price of CryoCor's common stock immediately preceding the execution of the securities purchase agreement.

In addition, the company issued warrants to the investors for the purchase of 578,824 additional shares of CryoCor's common stock priced at 7 cents a share, which is equal to $0.125 a share multiplied by the percentage of warrant coverage. The warrants have an exercise price of $5.14 a share.

• GE Healthcare Financial Services (Chicago) has provided a $20 million revolving line of credit to Centric Health Finance (La Jolla, California).

Centric said it will use the loan for general corporate purposes, including growing its VirtualPayor business, which provides specialty physician practices with an integrated solution that collapses their accounts receivables, consolidates third-party payers into a single source for immediate payment and streamlines billing and collections.