A Medical Device Daily

Cellerant Therapeutics (Palo Alto, California) reported raising $16 million in a Series B financing.

The financing was led by Novel Bioventures, with other participants including George Rathmann and CX Venture Group, along with Series A stockholders Allen & Company and MPM Capital were among the Series A stockholders.

Bruce Cohen, CEO of Cellerant, said that funding proceeds will be used to push forward development of the company’s hematopoietic purification technology. “We also plan to initiate clinical trials for our first cell-based product – human Myeloid Progenitors for the treatment of radiation- and chemotherapy-induced neutropenia.”

George Rathmann, chairman of Cellerant, said that the company’s HSC purification technology “opens the door for widespread clinical use of adult-derived stem cells for indications where conventional drug therapy has failed.”

Han Chiu, MD, managing director of Novel Bioventures, said that Cellerant has “significant near-term revenue opportunities and is attracting a rich pipeline of ever more exciting technologies and breakthroughs” and that the company has “the seeds to become one . . . of the dominant players in the stem cell market.”

For many patients, high-dose chemotherapy and radiation may offer the only potential for survival. As a method for helping their recovery, HSCs are harvested from the patient before therapy and later reinfused to regenerate the blood forming system which promotes the ability to fight off disease and recover from injury.

Cellerant said that this strategy has been limited, in part, by reintroduction of the patient’s cancer cells, while its technology reduces the number of cancer cells to below detectable levels and thus help to eliminate the risk of reintroduction of cancer.

The company said also that human and animal data show that many genetic blood disorders can be cured with HSCs from a donor who does not carry the genetic predisposition to the disease.

In other financing activity:

• Refocus Group (Dallas), a company developing treatments for eye disorders, reported that its board adopted a resolution to seek stockholder approval of a 1-for-2,000 reverse stock split of the outstanding shares of its stock, to be followed immediately by a forward 2,000-for-1 split, with stockholders holding less than one full share, following the reverse stock split, receiving a cash payment for the value of each fractional share.

When completed, Refocus expects to have fewer than 300 stockholders of record, permitting it to terminate registration of its common stock with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to suspend filing of its SEC reports and thus no longer be eligible for quotation on the OTC Bulletin Board. Refocus said these initiatives will reduce expenses and enable greater concentration on operations.

Refocus reports holding more than 90 U.S. and international pending and issued patents relating to the treatment of presbyopia, ocular hypertension and primary open-angle glaucoma. Its Scleral Spacing Procedure for surgically treating presbyopia, primary open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension utilizes four scleral implants placed under the surface of the sclera to resolve these problems.

• Horizon Health (Lewiston, Texas) reported that its board has approved a 2-for-1 stock split to be effected in the form of a 100% stock dividend. One additional share of common stock will be issued for each outstanding share of common stock held by stockholders of record at the close of business on May 31, 2005. The additional shares will be distributed on June 15, 2005. Horizon currently has approximately 7.38 million shares of common stock outstanding.

Horizon Health Corporation is a leading contract manager of clinical services for acute care hospitals and employers and an owner of behavioral health care facilities.