Adding a new cancer treatment technology to what it already has in its pipeline, AngioDynamics (Queensbury, New York) has signed an agreement to buy privately-held Oncobionic (San Francisco) for $25 million.

The two companies have worked together since 2004 when AngioDynamics signed a distribution and option agreement with Oncobionic for advancement of its irreversible electroporation (IRE) soft tissue ablation technology for focal cancer therapy.

“We believe this technology is revolutionary and has a potential to be game-changing in that it addresses many of the significant limitations of current focal tumor therapy such as (radiofrequency) therapy,” Eamonn Hobbs, president/CEO of AngioDynamics, said during a conference call about the acquisition Wednesday morninig.

AngioDynamics has paid $5 million to Oncobionic, with another $20 million in cash payments to be made over two years after specified milestones are achieved. The acquisition will close upon successful human use of Oncobionic’s IRE technology, which Hobbs said is expected by mid-2007.

He said AngioDynamics expects to being marketing a product using the IRE technology by mid-2008. A premarketing application has been filed with the FDA.

“The more we have learned the more we have become convinced that the Oncobionic technology holds great opportunity to revolutionize focal cancer therapy, with great potential for better treatment outcomes for patients,” Hobbs said.

Similar to thermal ablation technologies IRE uses needles and image guidance, Hobbs said, but instead of cooking or freezing the tissue, IRE destroys the targeted cells without damaging tissue and structures such as blood vessels and ducts. In IRE, needle electrodes are placed through the skin by image guidance in the center or at the edge of the targeted tissue. A certain electrical field is then generated within the electrode array, causing permanent pores in the cell membranes. The dead cells are left in the body to be removed by the body’s natural immune system.

“This is an extremely fast technology in that by the time your finger is off the button that activates it the treatment has already been conducted,” Hobbs said.

An IRE machine would sell for about $30,000, Hobbs said, and the IRE market could total as much as $1.6 billion a year “which is certainly the largest market AngioDynamics has ever been involved in.”

AngioDynamics makes interventional therapeutic and diagnostic devices to treat peripheral vascular diseases and other non-coronary diseases.

In other dealmaking:

• Primedex Health Systems (Los Angeles), a leader in California in providing diagnostic imaging services through a network of owned and operated outpatient imaging centers, reported that its S-4 registration statement has been declared effective and is being mailed to stockholders of record as of Oct. 6.

The company has called a special meeting of stockholders on Nov. 15 to discuss the stockholder approval of the proposal to acquire Radiologix (Dallas), the owner and operator of 69 outpatient imaging centers in California, Maryland, New York and other states in a cash/stock deal of about $208 million (MDD, July 10, 2006).

Other subjects at meeting will include the proposed change of the company’s name to Radnet and various other matters related to the acquisition of Radiologix.

The company said it intends to close the acquisition of Radiologix on Nov. 15.

• HCA (Nashville, Tennessee) said that it has established a record date and special meeting date for its shareholders to consider and vote upon the proposal to adopt the previously disclosed agreement for the acquisition of HCA by an investor group led by Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity and HCA founder Thomas Frist Jr, MD.

The $33 billion acquisition was first disclosed in July (MDD, July 25, 2006).

HCA shareholders of record at the close of business on Oct. 6 will be entitled to notice of the special meeting and to vote on the proposal. The special meeting will be held on Nov. 16 at HCA’s executive offices in Nashville.

HCA’s affiliates are owner/operators of 176 hospitals, 92 freestanding surgery centers and facilities, and they also are partners in joint ventures that own and operate seven hospitals and seven freestanding surgery centers. The company’s facilities are located in 21 states in the U.S., England and Switzerland.

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