A Medical Device Daily

PhotoThera (Carlsbad, California), a company pioneering the use of therapeutic laser technology for treatment of unmet medical needs, reported that it has closed a $30.5 million round of Series C venture funding, bringing the total of its venture-raised financing to $51 million.

Participating investors included Delphi Ventures, DeNovo Ventures, Hamilton BioVentures, Warburg Pincus, The Vertical Group and Solstice Capital.

“We will utilize these funds to pursue continued development of our NeuroThera device for the treatment of patients with ischemic stroke,“ said Thomas Wilder, the company's newly appointed president and CEO who came aboard on April 17.

In May 2001, the company raised an A round valued at $1.5 million. It received its B round, valued at $19 million in May 2004 (Medical Device Daily, May 11, 2004).

In March 2004, the company said it received FDA approval to market its Acculaser Pro therapeutic laser for use in the non-surgical treatment of a painful overuse tendonitis injury of the knee, common to runners and athletes, called iliotibial band syndrome (MDD, March 29, 2004).

PhotoThera was incorporated in May 1997 under the name Acculaser . The company was founded by Jackson Streeter, MD, who was intrigued by the possibilities of using infrared laser for therapeutic applications during his service as a Navy flight surgeon.

With Wilder's appointment, Streeter relinquished his CEO duties but will continue to have a role as the company's chief scientific officer.

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 2004 (MDD, Nov. 19, 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.