A Medical Device Daily
Gentris (Morrisville, North Carolina) said it closed a $5 million funding round with Mitsui & Co. (Tokyo). The company said the investment solidifies its position as a leader in the emerging field of applied clinical pharmacogenomic services and diagnostic product solutions.
Through its application of pharmacogenomics, Gentris helps pharmaceutical companies determine which patients are likely to respond to certain drugs according to their unique genetic makeup.
The Series C round of funding occurred one month after the FDA issued guidance on pharmacogenomic data submissions (Medical Device Daily, March 24, 2005). The guidance acknowledges that pharmacogenomic tests can predict the possibility of side effects and determine appropriate dosage levels.
The FDA envisions that pharmaceutical companies will use pharmacogenomic tests to support drug development and guide therapy recommendations for products on the market.
The FDA guidance aligns well with Gentris’ business, the company said. “Gentris already performs drug metabolism and safety tests like the ones the FDA is recommending,” said Michael Murphy, president and CEO. “These tests improve patient safety by identifying at-risk patients. At the same time, pharmaceutical companies can conduct more efficient trials by eliminating the population that won’t respond well to the drug.”
Mitsui is an international trading house.
In other financing activity:
• LAB International (Laval, Quebec), a drug development company with subsidiaries focused on developing therapies for the inhalation market and contract research services, has entered into a securities purchase agreement providing for the issuance of a secured convertible term note in the aggregate principal amount of $5 million (C$6.2 million) to Laurus Master Fund.
The note bears interest at the U.S. prime rate plus 2% (subject to reduction in certain events), has a term of three years, is secured by the pledge of the shares of certain subsidiaries and is convertible at a price of 85 cents per share.
Monthly note repayments will commence in September and will be subject to mandatory conversion provided that the market price of the common shares at the time of repayment is equal to or greater than 115% of the conversion price.
As additional consideration for the loan, LAB will issue to Laurus a warrant exercisable to purchase just over 1.77 million common shares of LAB for five years at a price of $1.37 per share.
“Although we benefit from the strong and growing cash flows derived from our LAB Research business unit, we still recognize the need to maintain a strong cash position as we advance LAB Pharma’s three lead products further into Phase II this year,” said Dr. Halvor Jaeger, CEO of LAB International. “This transaction allows us to finance the recent Scantox acquisition and more importantly, bring our cash position back to pre-Scantox levels. The cash infusion also will give us the required flexibility to aggressively move our late stage product development programs forward.”
• NanoString Technologies (Seattle) said it has received an additional $3.8 million dollars from its Series A investors, bringing the total amount of capital raised to more than $8 million in the last 9 months.
Last August the company reported that it had raised $4.3 million in early stage capital from investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson and OVP Venture Partners. The venture capital groups also held warrants to purchase a maximum of about $3.8 million and chose to exercise them in full.
“This completes the $8 million in financing that we set out to raise last year and will enable us to further our efforts in the development of the molecular bar coding system that we believe has the potential to support a variety of biological assay applications in industry sectors as diverse as gene expression, clinical diagnostics, agriculture, and biosurveillance,” said H. Perry Fell, PhD, NanoString president and CEO.
NanoString is an early stage company developing a nanotechnology-based platform for high speed, highly multiplexed, single molecule identification and digital quantification.
• IRadimed (Winter Park, Florida) reported the successful closing of its $1.5 million first round of private placement financing.
“The funds will propel Iradimed’s production and marketing phase,” said Roger Susi, the company’s founder and president.
The company recently was granted an FDA 510(k) clearance for its MRidium MRI Infusion Pump, what it calls the first “non-magnetic” smart infusion pump designed for the magnetic resonance environment, enabling patients to receive intravenous medications safely and continuously during the course of a scanning procedure.
IRadimed specializes in the development of non-magnetic smart infusion therapy products designed for the MRI environment.