A Medical Device Daily

Northfield Laboratories (Evanston, Illinois) reported that the underwriters of its previously reported offering of common stock (Medical Device Daily, Feb. 7, 2005/Dec. 28, 2004) have exercised in full their over-allotment option, agreeing to purchase another 675,000 shares of common stock.

Exercise of the option will result in additional gross proceeds to Northfield of about $10.1 million, bringing the total proceeds to around $77.6 million.

The offering is expected to close on or about Wednesday, subject to customary conditions. After exercising the over-allotment option, the underwriters have agreed to purchase 5,175,000 shares of Northfield common stock.

Northfield is developing PolyHeme, an oxygen-carrying blood substitute for the treatment of urgent, large volume blood loss in trauma and resultant surgical settings.

UBS Investment Bank is the sole book-running manager in this offering, with SG Cowen as co-lead manager and Harris Nesbitt as co-manager.

BioE (St. Paul, Minnesota), a company developing antibody-based technology for therapeutic and diagnostic applications, reported receiving $8.3 million in its latest round of private financing. Since 1998, BioE has raised more than $22 million, solely from angel investors.

BioE is the developer of a cell-separation technology platform, PrepaCyte, a product derived from this platform, and on track to become the first FDA-compliant reagent-based system for separating adult stem cells specifically from umbilical cord blood, according to the company. BioE said it expects to achieve FDA compliance “later this year.“

Funds raised in the new offering will be used to complete premarket FDA requirements for PrepaCyte-CB, for marketing to the public and private sectors, for R&D costs related to commercializing BioE's multi-lineage progenitor cells (MLPCs; or adult-source stem cells) and general operating expenses.

MLPCs are derived from umbilical cord blood using PrepaCyte-MLPC; they differ from other types of stem cells by having the ability to self-renew, expand exponentially and differentiate into a wide variety of tissue types, including bone, nerve, liver and muscle.

Michael Haider, president and CEO, said the financing “will enable us to take full advantage of the emerging adult stem cell industry and provide clinicians and researchers with the tools and stem cells [for] breakthroughs in medical care and disease treatment.“

Douglas Eayrs, MedVest Capital president, said, “PrepaCyte-CB . . . has the potential to become the standard-of-care processing system for this exciting new application.“

PrepaCyte technology is an antibody-based, closed, liquid reagent system that can be used to separate and collect therapeutically important cells, including hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic stem cells, from umbilical cord blood. It differs from traditional methods of separating cells from blood sources that often require either the mechanical or chemical manipulation of cells, which can result in the loss of desired cells or undesired alterations in their biological activity.

Instead, when mixed with cord blood, PrepaCyte-CB causes unwanted cells to settle to the bottom of a container/ bag, leaving desired cells in the upper fraction of the solution. This process allows stem cells to be easily removed for further processing prior to therapeutic use in humans, and results in increased quantities of cells. PrepaCyte-CB will consist of a four-bag, closed system for the sterile processing and storage of cord blood.

In other financing activity:

Diagnostic firm Biosite (San Diego) reported exercising a semi-exclusive license for research and diagnostic purposes to a proprietary target and has received an exclusive option to obtain licenses for 50 other diagnostic targets, under its collaboration and license agreement with Incyte Genomics (Palo Alto, California). Incyte has received an undisclosed amount in up-front fees and may receive additional milestones and royalties should Biosite develop and commercialize diagnostic products using any of these diagnostic targets.

With the agreement, Biosite is permitted to use the additional 50 target proteins and antibodies that bind to those proteins for research purposes. If Biosite exercises its option with respect to a target, it also will receive a license for diagnostic purposes for that target.

“Biosite Discovery has initiated several new projects this year, from abdominal pain and sepsis to improvements in Biosite's cardiovascular products. Collaborations that enable access to unique and proprietary targets are important to sustaining a pipeline of potentially high-value products,“ said Gunars Valkirs, senior vice president of Biosite Discovery.

Biosite also has selected certain Incyte targets and will use Biosite's marker mining process to evaluate diagnostic utility and explore interrelations among multiple targets. Targets validated as diagnostic markers will then be assessed for possible commercialization.

Biosite is focused on developing protein-based diagnostic tests for debilitating diseases. It says that its Triage rapid diagnostics are used in about 50% of U.S. hospitals and in more than 50 other countries for toxicology screening and diagnosis of infectious and cardiovascular disease.

Dynacq Healthcare (Houston) reported an amendment to its $6 million revolving credit facility to set the maturity date of the obligations under the facility to May 1 and changed the interest rate on the outstanding principal under such facility. Currently, about $5.7 million is outstanding under the revolving credit facility.

Dynacq said it intends either to refinance the amounts due or repay all outstanding amounts by such final maturity date. Dynacq is a holding company whose subsidiaries provide surgical healthcare and related ancillary services through hospital facilities and outpatient surgical centers.

No Comments