A Medical Device Daily

Regal One (Los Angeles) reported that it recently acquired a 10% interest in Nevada-based American Stem Cell (ASC) – the amount of the investment not disclosed – and that it has the option to acquire additional equity in the company. ASC will be relocating to Southern California following this investment.

Regal said it plans to issue a portion of its ASC shares as dividends to its more than 600 shareholders and that the overall investment in Regal will capitalize on emerging opportunities for stem cell research being pushed by the State of California’s establishment of a $3 billion stem cell fund.

ASC, a development-stage firm focused on evaluating and acquiring advanced stem cell technologies and related therapies, has reported plans to acquire Lifeline Cell Technology (Los Angeles) as a step in this overall plan. Lifeline is developing, through the use of human stem cells, a source of cells for potential transplant therapies to treat diseases such as diabetes, liver and retinal disease. It also plans to be a supplier of research products for the production of embryonic stem cells.

Lifeline has obtained licenses to technologies known as Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer and Parthenogenesis, and methods for production of cells free from animal protein contamination. Lifeline also controls intellectual property relating to the creation of retinal cells from embryonic stem cells.

Lifeline’s first target product will be human retinal cells to treat the blinding diseases of age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

In other dealmaking activity:

Siemens Medical Solutions USA (Hoffman, Estates, Illinois), a unit of Siemens (Malvern, Pennsylvania/ Erlangen, Germany), reported that the subsequent offering period of the previously reported tender offer to acquire all issued and outstanding shares of CTI Molecular Imaging (Knoxville, Tennessee) expired as of 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.

A total of 45,705,498 shares were tendered in accordance with the initial tender offer and during the pendency of the subsequent offering period, representing about 94% of CTI’s outstanding shares.

Siemens Medical said it intends to complete the merger in which all CTI shares not validly tendered and the subsequent offering period will be converted into the right to receive $20.50 a share, in cash.

Following the merger, valued at about $1 billion – and first unveiled in March (Medical Device Daily, March 21, 2005) – CTI will become a subsidiary of Siemens Medical Solutions.

Siemens Medical is a leading global supplier of medical technologies, healthcare information systems, management consulting and support services. CTI is a leading developer of products and services for positron emission tomography.

Digene (Gaithersburg, Maryland) and Luminex (Austin, Texas) reported that they have agreed to licensing terms giving Digene access to Luminex’s xMAP bead-based multiplexing technology for use in women’s diagnostics. Digene acquired non-exclusive worldwide rights to commercialize certain in vitro clinical diagnostic tests using Luminex’s xMAP technology to expand its position in cervical cancer screening and other women’s diagnostics area.

Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

Luminex said the agreement helps to establish its multiplexing technology as the detection platform of choice for market leaders, such as Digene. Luminex partners apply the technology in various life science research and clinical areas, but Luminex said that Digene is the first company to license xMAP technology for use in women’s diagnostics. Digene said it intends to develop next-generation products based on xMAP.

“Women and their physicians continue to become more sophisticated in their use of advanced clinical diagnostics as evidenced in the growing use of the Digene HPV Test in routine cervical cancer screening,” said Evan Jones, Digene’s CEO and chairman. He called xMAP “the industry benchmark in multiplexed diagnostics, and we are pleased to be able to access this technology for use in the area of women’s health.”

Digene makes DNA and RNA testing systems focused on women’s cancers and infectious diseases. Luminex manufactures biological testing technologies with applications throughout the life sciences.

TLC Vision (St. Louis) reported that it has acquired a refractive center in Greensboro, North Carolina, and a mobile cataract company in Louisville, Kentucky.

TLC acquired the refractive assets of Southeastern Eye Center (Greensboro, North Carolina), which performed 1,800 procedures last year and has a large optometric network, which TLC will target for growth. TLC already has centers in Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Karl Stonecipher will continue as the center’s medical director.

TLC, through its Midwest Surgical Services subsidiary, has acquired Vision Surgical Services (VSS; Louisville, Kentucky), providing outsource cataract surgical services to 15 mobile and fixed locations throughout Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia. VSS CEO Randy Boehme will remain with MSS as a consultant.

TLC administers an affiliated network of more than 13,000 eye doctors.

NextCare Urgent Care (Mesa, Arizona) reports expanding its national group practice with its acquisition of North Carolina-based Doctor’s Urgent Care Center, with the purchase making it “the world’s largest privately owned provider of urgent care services, treating more than 500,000 patients a year.”

NextCare purchased nine free-standing urgent care centers from Beverly Enterprises (Fort Smith, Arkansas), a provider of healthcare services to the elderly in the U.S. The price of the purchases was not disclosed.

NextCare says it continues to look for other expansion opportunities through partnerships with local hospitals, physician groups and other retail providers. It currently operates 21 urgent care facilities from Arizona to North Carolina.