A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Sensors for Medicine and Science (SMS; Germantown, Maryland) said it has completed the second closing of a private financing, in the form of a Series C convertible preferred stock issue. Proceeds from both tranches of the financing exceed $30 million.

It said the first tranche of about $15 million was closed in April 2002.

SMS said the proceeds would enable it to "substantially" complete clinical development of its implanted, continuous glucose monitor.

Five venture capital firms participated in the financing, all of which had invested previously in the company. New Enterprise Associates, which provided the company's seed funding, and HealthCare Ventures are the principal investors in this round. Other investors are Rho Capital Partners, Anthem Capital and Abingworth Management. Several individual investors also participated.

SMS is developing sensor technology enabling applications that it said have not been practical with existing technology. Its implantable, remotely interrogatable glucose monitor for diabetics will address a market it estimates at more than $5 billion and growing at double digits globally.

The company also has developed a fast oxygen sensor that enables real-time, breath-by-breath analysis for metabolic, critical care and other respiratory function applications. Founded in January 1997, SMS reports having exclusive rights to more than 30 issued and pending U.S. patents on core technology.

In other financing activity:

Aperio Technologies (Vista, California), a provider of virtual microscopy systems in the Healthcare IT industry, reported closing on a $17 million Series B round of financing. Aperio said it will use the new capital for expanding sales and operations, developing new products, protecting its intellectual property, and driving market adoption.

The round was co-led by Galen Partners and Advanced Technology Ventures. Other investors included Dako A/S. Terms of the financing were not disclosed.

Zubeen Shroff from Galen, and Tom Rodgers from ATV, will join the Aperio board of directors.

Virtual microscopy is the practice of converting entire glass microscope slides to high resolution digital slides – entire-slide images that can be remotely viewed, quantitatively analyzed, and readily annotated, shared and managed, all without a traditional microscope.

Aperio's line of ScanScope systems delivers automated, high-speed digital slide creation, management and analysis for pathology. Archival and retrieval, quality assurance, frozen section interpretation, secondary consultations, and entire-slide image analysis are all improved with the ScanScope system, the company said.

Biophan Technologies (West Henrietta, New York), a developer of advanced medical technology, reported completing phase II and phase III of its development agreement with Boston Scientific (Natick, Massachusetts).

Completion of these milestones allows the company to recognize $225,000 of previously received development payments as current quarter revenues.

The development agreement, which is focused on achieving broad compatibility between certain medical devices and MRI technology, stretches back to November 2003.

Biophan said it expects to receive additional revenue from Boston Sci in January 2006 as a result of the recently executed license agreement between the two companies. Under the terms of the agreement, Biophan anticipates an additional payment of $250,000 from Boston Sci after Jan. 1, 2006.

Biophan develops technologies designed to make biomedical devices safe and image compatible with the MRI environment.

Viatronix (Stony Brook, New York), a developer of 2-D/3-D clinical solutions – reported beginning a worldwide CAD integration partnership with Quantitative Imaging (QI; San Bruno, California), a developer of CAD solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed. Viatronix will integrate QI's colon CAD engine – PolypPoint – with its V3-D-Colon workstation.

"Under the terms of the agreement, Viatronix will license QI's powerful CAD product and offer it as an optional upgrade to our V3D-Colon module," said Zaffar Hayat, president and CEO of Viatronix. "The work has already begun in 3Q05, and we expect that the commercially integrated CAD will be available to the market by 4Q05."

DiagnoCure (Quebec City, Quebec), a developer of molecular diagnostics and cell-based assays for detection of cancer, said that "for financial consideration," it has licensed from Genzyme (Cambridge, Massachusetts) the worldwide exclusive rights to about 40 genes for use in the field of detecting lung cancer.

DiagnoCure said it will pay up-front and milestone payments, the amounts not disclosed, as well as royalties on product sales. In exchange, Diagnocure will have access to Genzyme intellectual property covering gene sequences related to the detection of lung cancer.

DiagnoCure also has granted to Genzyme an option to become DiagnoCure's partner for any diagnostic product developed using one or more of the licensed genes. The Genzyme Genetics business unit would commercialize the products through its national esoteric testing sales force and network of eight U.S. laboratories.

Pierre Desy, president and CEO of DiagnoCure, said the company will "explore all applications of these potential markers utilizing bronchial aspirates, sputum, expectoration and blood samples."

DiagnoCure in late 2004 reported "promising" results for a prototype lung cancer assay using bronchial aspirates as a sample. The test detected more than 90% of the cancers against 37% with routine cytology. The company said it will use these newly acquired genes to optimize the performance of the original assay and develop new tests that employ other sample types such as blood, sputum, or biopsy materials.

DiagnoCure's first product, ImmunoCyt /uCyt+, is a tool for the diagnosis and monitoring of bladder cancer. In 2003, the company completed the development of uPM3, a non-invasive test for the early detection of prostate cancer, and granted an exclusive worldwide license for the use of the PCA3 technology in prostate cancer diagnosis to Gen-Probe (San Diego).

In 2004, the company launched a first version of its automated microscopy workstation that screens, performs image analysis, reports and archives data and images. After successfully completing a lung cancer pilot study, DiagnoCure is now developing a first-generation molecular assay on bronchial aspirates.

Affymetrix (Santa Clara, California) has granted to PathWork Informatics (San Jose, California) long-term non-exclusive access to its microarray technology to develop and market in vitro diagnostics for the development of tests for cancers.

The collaboration, reached under the "Powered by Affymetrix" program, allows PathWork to incorporate Affymetrix' patented arrays into PathWork Oncology Suites, the company's diagnostic kits under development.

PathWork is creating next-generation cancer diagnostics that help make diagnoses, informed prognoses and treatment decisions. The company's first three product candidates focus on metastatic tumors, as well as prostate cancer and colon cancer.

Under the Powered by Affymetrix program, companies license technology from Affymetrix to develop microarray products. This includes the GeneChip System 3000Dx, the first microarray instrumentation system for molecular diagnostic laboratories.

Medical Services International (Edmonton, Alberta) said it has obtained the exclusive marketing and distribution rights to a confirming test kit for tuberculosis (TB). The kit is registered with the FDA.

The company's existing VScan TB test kit is used as a preliminary screening test to detect the presence of active TB in an individual. Once TB has been detected there are several follow-up tests necessary to confirm the TB diagnosis and begin treatment.

The test kit Medical Services has received the rights to is used to complete the additional testing required if the VScan TB test gives a positive result.

Wellstar (Holland, Ohio) said it has obtained funding in excess of $2 million to be used to launch of its subsidiary medical division, Trillennium Medical Imaging (TMI). John Antonio, president of Trillennium and Wellstar, said, "[W]e will immediately be able to execute our business plan. In addition Wellstar will be making application to the bulletin board within the next few weeks or sooner, which should make us a fully reporting listed company on the Bulletin board within the next 90 days. Our goal is to be cash flowing in the month of December, and be turning a profit by the end of first quarter of 2006."

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