A Medical Device Daily

Sanarus Medical (Pleasanton, California), a company developing minimally invasive devices for the diagnosis and treatment of breast tumors, reported closing a $23 million round of financing led by Pequot Ventures, a venture capital investor in healthcare.

Investing in the Series D round are current investors Alta Partners, U.S. Venture Partners, Forward Ventures, Federated Kaufmann Fund, Technology Funding and Channel Medical Partners. With the closing of the financing, Sanarus added Juliet Bakker of Pequot Ventures to its board.

Sanarus is in early commercialization of its products, including the Visica Treatment System used in the ablation of breast fibroadenomas.

Before the Visica Treatment System came on the market, the only option for women was open surgical removal, Sanarus said. It said that women now can choose the Visica procedure, “which accomplishes what the open surgical procedure does without the added complications, scarring and recovery time.”

John Rush, president and CEO of Sanarus, said that the new financing “will enable us to focus our efforts on the successful commercialization of our products and to continue to positively influence their adoption in the minimally invasive treatment of breast disease.”

Sanarus also markets the Visica System for cryo-assisted localization in conjunction with breast lumpectomy and the new Cassi Breast Biopsy device. All devices use advanced cryoablation to destroy, localize or engage targeted breast lesions.

InterCure (Fort Lee, New Jersey), which is developing a breathing-based treatment for cardiovascular diseases, reported receiving $3 million in a first closing of Series C round fundraising.

InterCure said it intends this round to be its final private financing effort, and that it is “anticipating” an initial public offering by the end of 2006.

The round was led by Nikko antfactory, the venture capital arm of Nikko Cordial Securities, Japan’s third-largest investment bank, together with Nippon Venture Capital, a leading Japanese VC firm.

Existing investors participating in the financing were Medica Venture Partners, Yaacov Shachar, Dr. Arie Ovadia and Dr. Benjamin Gavish, one of the company’s two founders. Additional existing investors include True North-Palladin Partners (New York), United Mizrahi Bank and Daniel Plotkin, the company’s chairman.

InterCure bills itself as the leader in breathing-based cardiovascular treatment devices. It says its RESPeRATE To Lower Blood Pressure device is “the only non-drug hypertension treatment device clinically proven to lower high blood pressure.” It is cleared for marketing in the U.S., Europe and other markets.

InterCure said it is experiencing rapid growth in revenues as RESPeRATE is becoming “a mainstream treatment option for physicians and consumers.” RESPeRATE was recently awarded the “2005 Hypertension Treatment Technology Innovation of the Year Award” by Frost & Sullivan.

Erez Gavish, InterCure’s president and CEO, said, “Now that the U.S. market [for RESPeRATE] is experiencing dramatic growth, Japan is our next top-priority market. The credibility and network of our new partners will greatly enhance our ability to capitalize on the Japanese opportunity.”

InterCure said it has developed seven successful clinical trials, thus supporting its claims as “the only non-drug medical device indicated by the FDA for the adjunctive treatment of hypertension.”

In other financing activity:

Competitive Technologies (CTT; Fairfield, Connecticut) reported that it has granted a license for a homocysteine assay to the Roche Diagnostics Division of F. Hoffman-La Roche (Basel, Switzerland) under its U.S. patent No. 4,940,658, relating to homocysteine medical tests. Roche is granted a license under the CTT patent and will pay royalties on sales of Roche homocysteine assay products. The agreement includes an up-front license fee.

The settlement and license does not relieve Roche customers for royalties on assays for methylmalonic acid, for which CTT will separately require a license to perform such assays.

Elevated levels of homocysteine resulting from vitamin B12 and folate deficiency may be a risk factor in heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, various pregnancy complications, dementia from Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and presbyopia.

The homocysteine patent is derived from discoveries made by CTT’s clients, Drs. Robert Allen and Sally Stabler from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (Denver) and the late Dr. John Lindenbaum from Columbia University (New York).

Aris Despo, CTT’s vice president of life science business development, said, “This is the sixth agreement we have signed as part of our active licensing and royalty collection program for the patented homocysteine assay. CTT is continuing with our strategy of recognizing the strength and growth of the demand for the homocysteine assay, an important element in our portfolio of technologies. An estimated 20 million assays were performed in 2004, a double-digit growth over 2003.”

CTT has a program of collecting royalties from organizations involved in the homocysteine assay process and has signed license agreements with and is collecting royalties from companies performing the majority of homocysteine assays, now including Roche, Bayer, Abbott, Quest, Diagnostic Products and Genchem.

CTT, established in 1968, develops and commercializes technologies in life, digital, nano and physical sciences.

• PerkinElmer, a leader in neonatal and prenatal screening, and JN Macri Technologies, an affiliate of NTD Laboratories (Huntington Station, New York), have signed a license agreement giving PerkinElmer rights to manufacture and sell kits for the measurement of free beta human chorionic gonadotrophin in liquid blood for assessment of fetal anomalies during pregnancy.

As a marker of Down syndrome and other trisomies, analysis of free hCGa is a means of improving risk assessment within the first trimester. The technology covered includes reagents used to detect amounts of free hCGa in the blood and software that uses free hCGa measurements to calculate the risk of a fetus having chromosomal abnormalities.

“Measurement of free hCGa allows for a non-invasive, highly accurate risk assessment during pregnancy,” said Dr. J.N. Macri, president and CEO of JN Macri.