A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

SpinX Technologies (Geneva, Switzerland), a privately held company that has developed a programmable lab-on-a-chip platform, reported securing $12.5 million (EUR 10 million) in a Series B round of financing.

The round was led by Bio Fund Management (Helsinki, Finland), with equal participation from seed and Series A investor Index Ventures (Geneva, Switzerland), as well as from Auriga Partners (Paris) and DFJ ePlanet Ventures (Redwood City, California). The pension fund of CERN (Geneva), the European organization for nuclear research, also participated in the financing.

SpinX said that the new funds would support the further development and initial commercialization of its platform to perform biological assays, which it terms “programmable microfluidics.”

The technology integrates assay preparation and readout in a single bench-top device, enabling increased flexibility of experiment design, according to the company. “By dramatically reducing the manual work involved in setting up and performing biological assays, the technology allows scientists to concentrate on their research and healthcare practitioners to concentrate on their patients,” SpinX said in a statement.

“Our technology is surprisingly simple,” said Piero Zucchelli, founder of SpinX and head of research and product development for the company. “It is entirely based on off-the-shelf components and technologies. The main challenge in developing the platform was the integration of very diverse components – something we are used to dealing with from our days at CERN. At SpinX, the biology and chemistry adds another dimension, but we’ve overcome this challenge.”

Thierry Jean, founder and CEO of CEREP, said, “Each time a possible limitation of the technology is identified [SpinX researchers], manage to swiftly find a solution which is both elegant and innovative. An example of this resourcefulness is the way in which they figured out how to leverage existing microtitre plate infrastructure to load the SpinX microfluidic cards, eliminating a compatibility problem which has prevented broad adoption of other microfluidic technologies.”

Seppo Makinen, senior partner of Bio Fund Management, and Philippe Peltier, partner of Auriga Partners, will become directors of SpinX. Mir Imran, founder of Cardiac Pathways (Sunnyvale, California) and of Percusurge (also Sunnyvale), will represent DFJ ePlanet on the board. Richard Rimer, partner of Index Ventures, and Giuseppe Zocco, general partner of Index Ventures, will continue to serve on the SpinX board.

SpinX says that its laser-based valving technology enables complex biological experiments in nanoliter volumes, integrating assay preparation and assay readout in a bench-top device. The consumable part of the technology is compatible with existing infrastructure. Currently, the SpinX development is focused on offering a solution to perform panels of assays in drug discovery.

Chinese joint venture for Positron

Positron (Houston), a manufacturer of positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, reported the formation of a joint venture with Neusoft Medical Systems (Shenyang, China.)

The joint venture will be called Neusoft-Positron Medical Systems Co. Ltd. and will specialize in the production of PET and PET/CT systems.

Gary Brooks, president and CEO of Positron, said, “We are very impressed with Neusoft’s capabilities in both medical hardware and software. While both companies have approved the agreement, it is subject to governmental approval in the People’s Republic of China and other closing conditions. We expect to receive the necessary approvals within the next 30 days.”

Positron’s Posicam systems incorporate proprietary technology for the diagnosis and treatment of patients in the areas of oncology, cardiology and neurology.

Medical Services’ marketing contacts

Diagnostic test provider Medical Services International (Edmonton, Alberta) said it has been approached by another company, not involved in the medical industry, seeking an introduction into China for the marketing of its products for the oil and gas industry.

Medical Services said it was able to demonstrate to Grifco International (Spring, Texas) the value of its contacts in China, and that as a result of those contacts as well as MSI’s relationship with The Nutmeg Group, it has entered into distribution/marketing agreements with Grifco.

Medical Services receives an up-front marketing fee and a fee for each succeeding 12-month period where it is involved with Grifco, along with a 5% commission on revenues derived as a result of MSI’s connections, network or efforts.

Grifco International specializes in tools for the global coil tubing, wireline and snubbing industry throughout the world.

In regard to its own China project, Medical Services said it is delivering more than 70,000 test kits a week as it continues to fill its first order in that country, to total 635,000 kits by the end of October.

The company said it is currently shipping its test kits into 19 countries and is expecting regulatory approval in another 11 in the next 60 to 90 days.

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