A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Pacific Biometrics (PBI; Seattle), a provider of central laboratory services, reported completing a private placement for shares and warrants of common stock, closing on an additional $500,000 in early April 2006.

The closing was supplementary to a March 8, 2006, closing, which brought the company $3.8 million in gross proceeds. Total gross proceeds from the private placement are now about $4.3 million.

In addition, in early April, the holders of the outstanding shares company Series A preferred stock entered an agreement to voluntarily exchange all of their shares of Series A preferred stock for 1.79 million shares of common stock. The effective date of the exchange is March 31. As a result of this transaction, the outstanding shares of Series A preferred stock will be cancelled, and the company common stock will be the only class of stock issued and outstanding.

PBI provides specialized central laboratory and contract research services to support pharmaceutical and diagnostic manufacturers in the areas of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis and nutrition.

CEO Ron Helm said: "These recent events are significant for two reasons. First, we achieved our financing goal for net proceeds, which ends our immediate focus on financing and which we believe gives us the necessary resources to move forward on our operations plan during 2006. Second, we completed a very important capital restructuring by converting the Series A preferred into common, which simplifies and cleans up our capital structure."

PBI says it also owns several patented and patent-pending technologies, including monitoring devices for glucose and changes in bone turnover, an advanced isothermal DNA amplification technology, and a gene-based cell viability technology to distinguish live from dead cells in a broad range of diagnostic applications.

Precision Optics (Gardner, Massachusetts) reported completing a private placement of its common stock raising proceeds of $2.11 million.

The company said it issued 8.45 million shares of common stock at 25 cents a share to be used for general corporate purposes.

Precision Optics since 1982 has manufactured advanced optical instruments, and it designs and produces medical instruments, optical thin film coatings and other optical systems. The company's medical instrumentation line includes laparoscopes, arthroscopes and endocouplers and a product line of 3-D endoscopes for use in minimally invasive surgical procedures.

The company continues to advance products through technical innovation, including development of the next generation of 3-D endoscopes; the extension of Lenslock technology to its entire line of endoscopes; instrumentation using using its micro-precision lens technology for optical components, assemblies and endoscopes under 1 mm.

Gen-Probe (San Diego) has exercised its option to develop a nucleic acid testing (NAT) platform based on Qualigen's (Carlsbad, California) patented, FDA-approved FastPack immunoassay system.

GenProbe acquired the option to acquire the FastPack rights in November 2004. As part of the option exercise, Gen-Probe has purchased preferred stock convertible into about 19.5% of Qualigen's fully diluted common shares for about $7 million.

If development is successful, the new platform, known as a closed unit-dose assay (CUDA) system, would use Gen-Probe's NAT technologies to rapidly detect, at the point of sample collection, the presence of harmful microorganisms and genetic mutations. The platform could be used in physicians' offices, outpatient clinics, blood screening centers and various industrial settings.

"This collaboration allows us to validate a new application for our technology and indirectly enter new markets while continuing to grow our existing immunoassay business," said Paul Rosinack, president and CEO of Qualigen.

At the time of the 2004 rights option, Gen-Probe paid Qualigen $1 million for an 18-month option to license, on an exclusive worldwide basis, its technology to develop NAT assays for the clinical diagnostics, blood screening and industrial fields.

Under the terms of that agreement, Gen-Probe could exercise its option by purchasing the minority interest in Qualigen. It also may pay Qualigen up to another $3 million based on development milestones, as well as royalties on any eventual product sales.

The FastPack system's current test menu includes total prostate specific antigen (PSA), free PSA (internationally), testosterone, thyroid-stimulating hormone and free thyroxine.

In other financing news: Dade Behring (Deerfield, Illinois), a company dedicated to clinical diagnostics, reported that it has granted rights to American Diagnostica (Stamford, Connecticut), a manufacturer and supplier of clinical diagnostics and research products, for the in vitro diagnostic use of factor VII-activating protease (FSAP) for the development of diagnostic tests intended to be used in the detection of the early stages of cardiovascular disease and to study the role of FSAP in coagulation disorders. Financial details were not disclosed.

This agreement also provides American Diagnostica with the rights to sell FSAP antibodies.

"As a global leader in cardiovascular testing, finding ways to further advance diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, the world's No. 1 health threat, is a high priority for our company," said Jim Reid-Anderson, president, CEO and chairman of Dade Behring.