A Medical Device Daily

Macroflux (Mountain View, California) has raised $75 million in an equity financing to create a new transdermal drug development/delivery company.

Originally a group within Alza (also Mountain View), The Macroflux spin-out is being led by Nomura Phase4 Ventures, a specialist investor in healthcare. The syndicate includes investments from New Enterprise Associates and funds managed by HBM Partners.

The $75 million financing will enable the company to push several product opportunities through clinical development. Alza, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, New Jersey), will retain an equity stake in the venture.

The Macrofluxsystem is based on a small patch and applicator intended to provide a needle-free solution for transdermal delivery of therapeutic proteins, peptides and vaccines. It is designed to combine painless and convenient drug administration with rapid delivery and high bioavailability.

The patch incorporates a thin titanium screen with precision drug-coated microprojections that, when applied to the skin, create “superficial pathways through the skin’s outer layer allowing transport of molecules,” according to Macroflux.

Prior to spin-out, the Macroflux business said it successfully completed early clinical trials with five different drugs in more than 300 subjects.

“With this financing we will be able to more fully realize the potential of our novel transdermal delivery system,” said Peter Daddona, chief scientific officer of Macroflux,

Macroflux has 26 employees and will continue to be based in Mountain View.

In other financing news:

• SHG Holding Solutions (SHG; Foothill Ranch, California) reported that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the proposed initial public offering of its common stock.

The offering of up to $175 million of common stock includes shares to be sold in accordance with a 30-day over-allotment option in favor of the underwriters, if exercised. Any shares sold in connection with the over-allotment option will be purchased from certain SHG stockholders, including SHG’s sponsor, Onex Partners, a $1.7 billion large-cap private equity fund managed by Onex.

The underwriters of the offering will be Credit Suisse Securities, UBS Securities and Banc of America Securities acting as joint book-running managers; Bear, Stearns & Co., Goldman, Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan Securities, and Lehman Brothers, acting as co-lead managers; and RBC Capital Markets and Scotia Capital acting as co-managers.

SHG is a provider of long-term healthcare services through its skilled nursing facility and rehabilitation therapy subsidiaries. Its subsidiaries provide other related healthcare services, including assisted living care and hospice care.

• Nerites (Madison, Wisconsin) reported that it has closed a new round of financing, bringing the total it has raised to $3 million in two years.

Nerites develops tissue repair products as well as advanced coatings for implanted medical devices and device uses on skin, based on “wet” adhesive compounds.

“The funding has allowed us to solidify corporate relationships, develop scientific partnerships, and begin working directly with clinicians for the use of our products,” said Thomas Mozer, PhD, president/CEO of Nerites.

In addition to raising $3 million over the past two years, Nerites said it has proven that its tissue adhesives will bind tissues together “in aqueous environments, including body fluids such as blood. Nerites has also proven that its medical device coatings block bacterial adhesion to the device surface for prolonged periods of time.”

In both the case of tissue adhesive and device coatings, Nerites is carrying out animal tests to verify the results. In these studies, the company’s tissue adhesives will be used to close surgical incisions and the device coatings will be shown to reduce the likelihood of bacterial infections at the site of medical implants. Successful completion of these studies will then lead to human trials.

Nerites has formed strategic alliances, including an agreement with the Midwest Orthopaedic Research Foundation (MORF; Minneapolis), to co-develop its technologies for use as surgical adhesives and implant coatings. Under the agreement, Nerites and MORF will jointly evaluate and develop the Nerites SurPhys antifouling coating technologies for medical devices and their Medhesive aqueous-compatible adhesives for internal tissue applications.

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