A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Fischer Imaging (Denver), a manufacturer of medical imaging systems, said it has entered into a $10 million loan agreement with private equity group ComVest Investment Partners (West Palm Beach, Florida).

Under the agreement, Fischer received an initial advance of $5 million and used the proceeds to retire all of its outstanding senior indebtedness and for working capital to fund operations, research and development and marketing initiatives. The remaining $5 million available under the commitment may be borrowed by Fischer from time to time, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, through Nov. 15.

Harris Ravine, Fischer president and CEO, said, "This financing provides the company with valuable capital and additional resources to support the current rollout of our second-generation SenoScan digital mammography system, as well as development of future enhancements to SenoScan such as 3-D capability. It will also support other key development programs."

The loan carries an interest rate of 8.5% per year and matures in November 2008.

Fischer has the option to prepay the loan, in full or in part, at any time without any prepayment fee. Beginning with the first calendar quarter of 2006, the company is required to make certain minimum quarterly principal payments and to make mandatory principal prepayments based on its future cash flows.

In connection with the financing, the company issued ComVest warrants to acquire up to 2 million shares of Fischer common stock. The warrants have an exercise price of $4.25 per share and expire in February 2010.

One company focus is women's health, particularly the diagnosis and screening of breast cancer through the application of digital imaging technologies. Fischer also produces equipment designed for emergency, radiology, surgical and certain cardiovascular needs. Fischer Imaging is the oldest manufacturer of X-ray imaging devices in the U.S., having started in 1910.

Atherotech (Birmingham, Alabama), a developer of cardio-diagnostic technology, reported receiving $7.5 million in financing from Orix Venture Finance. The transaction includes a $2.5 million, two-year revolving line of credit and a $5 million, three-year term loan.

Roseanne Varner, Atherotech's president and CEO, said the proceeds will be used to refinance existing debt and provide additional working capital for future growth.

Varner said that the investment "reinforces the significant progress Atherotech has made in encouraging further adoption of the VAP [Vertical Auto Profile] Cholesterol Test among physicians, as well as the company's strong financial growth. It also demonstrates the investment community's understanding of the VAP Test's role as an answer to the challenges faced by clinicians in the ongoing battle against heart disease."

Routine cholesterol tests often fail to identify more than half the patients at risk for heart disease, in part because they are based on a calculated low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which often is inaccurate, according to Varner.

Atherotech's VAP Test complies with National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines which focus on emerging risk factors and secondary targets of therapy for heart disease. The guidelines highlight the importance of direct-measured LDL, LDL pattern size and lipoprotein, the latter also known as the "widow-maker."

The VAP Test includes these measurements, and the results along with risk assessments based on these values are reported to the physician in a patient profile. The VAP Test is available through national and regional diagnostic laboratories and is reimbursed by most payers, including Medicare, Atherotech said. Samples are processed in the company's Birmingham laboratory.

William Bishop, principal of Orix Venture Finance, said that Atherotech's growth and the increasing demand for its proprietary VAP Test technology "have led us to provide this financing."

Orix Venture Finance is a member of the Corporate Finance Group of Orix USA, with offices in Silicon Valley, California, Hartford, Connecticut, and New York.

In other financing activity:

Biophan (West Henrietta, New York) reported that it had closed a term sheet for new capital with what it characterized as "a major biomedical device company," but said that due to confidentiality agreements, it would not be announcing details until the transaction closes.

"We are very pleased with the transaction and its forward progress," said CEO Michael Weiner. "The agreement will be more than adequate to provide the capital needed to enable our listing on a major stock exchange. We are in the process of preparing our listing application."

Biophan provides technology that is designed to enable implantable medical devices and to enable interventional devices to be used safely and effectively in conjunction with MRI, thereby enabling surgical procedures to be performed under real-time MRI guidance.

Medical Home Products (MHP; St. Petersburg, Florida), a provider of self-test kits, reported that its board of directors has approved a five-for-one forward stock split of the company's common shares.

The split will take effect March 18. Each shareholder of record at the close of business on March 8 will receive four additional shares for every outstanding share held on the record date, and trading will begin on a split-adjusted basis on March 18.

Paul Mathis, president and CEO, said, "Our growth and success in the rapidly developing medical self-test and diabetes testing markets have resulted in significant increases in the valuation of the company by the financial community. Because we continue to add value to our company, a forward stock split was necessary."

He added: "Many investors have expressed concern over the tight market that exists in the trading of our stock and it has disabled many investors from participating in our growth. Now those investors can purchase shares at a lower price and more easily."

MHP is distributor of disposable medical products, such as home test kits, diagnostic devices and other medical items. The company distributes products over the Internet and through local distributors.