A Medical Device Daily

Avantis Medical Systems (Sunnyvale, California) reported that it has raised $12 million in its Series B round of financing.

Avantis is developing the Third Eye retroscope, a new device for detection of colon cancers and polyps that are hidden from the view of a standard colonoscope. The company said the financing will be used to fund development and commercialization of the Third Eye in the U.S., including ramping up manufacturing and distribution.

The Third Eye is passed through the instrument channel of a standard colonoscope until it extends beyond its tip. As it emerges, the device automatically turns 180 degrees to aim “backward” toward the tip of the colonoscope. Then, as the colonoscope is withdrawn from the colon, the device provides a continuous retrograde view to reveal polyps, cancers and other lesions that might be hidden from the view of a standard colonoscope.

Colonoscopy is widely regarded as the “gold standard” for detection of abnormalities in the colon. However, research has revealed that many polyps and cancers can be missed during colonoscopy, especially if they lie behind folds in the colon wall, Avantis said. This new device is designed to reveal the opposite side of those folds.

A first-in-man study is currently in progress and a larger study will launch in 1Q07, the company said.

The round was led by Montreux Equity Partners and joined by existing investors.

Wound care company Biofisica (Atlanta) reported that it has closed a $5 million Series A financing.

The funds will be used, it said, to help launch POSiFECT RD Bio-Electric Stimulation therapy, calling it the first wound care product of its kind in the UK, later this year. It said that the funding also will go toward initial regulatory filings in the U.S., for expanding Biofisica’s management team in both the UK and the U.S., and for growing the company’s product pipeline.

The POSiFECT RD (RD referring to the dressing’s round shape) is the first medical device available, BioFisica said, that combines two technologies — moist wound-care dressing and electrical stimulation — in a fully disposable, easy-to -use, sterile dressing that facilitates the normal healing process. The company said that clinical research has shown that POSiFECT accelerates healing in difficult-to-heal or non-healing chronic wounds.

Earlier this month, PosiFect received European marketing clearance and a CE-marking.

“This funding will help sustain our momentum as we build customer relationships and establish future distribution channels,” said Rafael Andino, president/CEO of Biofisica.

Unilever Technology Ventures, a new investor, led the round of financing and was joined by the Novartis Venture Fund, the Advanced Technology Development Center Seed Capital Fund and other existing investors.

In other financing news, Applied Biosystems Group (ABG; Foster City, California), an Applera business, reported that it has signed an agreement with Eagle Research and Development (Boulder, Colorado) to collaborate on further developing a single molecule detection device invented by Eagle. As part of the agreement, ABG also received an exclusive two-year option to license the technology.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Eagle’s technology, now in prototype stage, identifies and quantifies molecules based on their unique electronic charge signatures. ABG said it believes the technology could have significant implications for advancing personalized medicine based on its potential for faster and less expensive protein and nucleic acid identification, protein-protein and protein/small molecule interaction measurements, and DNA sequencing.

Eagle received a two-year grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute (Bethesda, Maryland) in 2002 to demonstrate a unique DNA detection method using a nanopore-based device. Nanopores are extremely small openings in a thin membrane or silicon chip. When an electronic voltage is applied, molecules pass through these pores enabling each unique molecular component to be identified and counted.

“This technology offers the prospect to eventually correlate DNA and its expressed proteins with specific disease states using an inexpensive, disposable and portable device, which could be a boon for clinical research,” said Jon Sauer, founder of Eagle Research and Development. “For example, the device has the potential to enable development of exquisitely targeted treatments using sequencing data both from a patient and from the disease-causing pathogen.”

“A rapid, cost-effective and portable molecular detection device has the potential to advance a wide range of important life science applications,” said Dennis Gilbert, chief scientific officer of Applied Biosystems. “While it is still in early stages, we are excited about exploring this technology’s ability to achieve these goals by identifying molecules directly by electronic charge signatures, a capability which could also represent the future of label-free molecule detection.”

ABG said it intends to focus initial development support and feasibility testing for applications in protein identification and detection of protein-binding events.

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