A Medical Device Daily

Oxygen therapeutics developer Northfield Laboratories (Evanston, Illinois) reported filing a prospectus supplement with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to an underwritten offering of 3.5 million shares of its common stock under an existing shelf registration statement.

In connection with the offering, Northfield Laboratories expects to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 525,000 additional shares to cover over-allotments, if any.

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

Northfield is developing an oxygen-carrying blood substitute for the treatment of urgent, large-volume blood loss in trauma and resultant surgical settings. PolyHeme is a solution of chemically modified human hemoglobin that requires no cross matching and therefore is compatible with all blood types. It has a shelf life of more than 12 months.

Enrollment is currently under way in a pivotal Phase III trial of PolyHeme beginning in the pre-hospital setting.

OctoPlus (Leiden, the Netherlands), a drug delivery and development company, reported raising $23.85 million (EUR 18.25 million) in a second financing round from an international group of investors.

The investment was led by Life Sciences Partners II (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and S.R. One (West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania). Other investors participating in the round are Innoven Partenaires (Paris), Fortis Private Equity (Brussels, Belgium) and SurModics (Minneapolis).

The investment by SurModics, a provider of surface modification and drug delivery technologies to the medical device industry, was about $3.9 million (EUR 3 million). In June 2004, SurModics reported that it was exclusively licensing two biodegradable polymer classes from OctoPlus, known as PolyActive and OctoDEX, for medical device applications.

PolyActive consists of a series of multiblock copolymers, based on polyethylene glycol and polybutylene terephthalate, with the ability to vary the amount and length of each of the two building blocks, creating a diverse family of customized products. OctoDEX consists of modified dextrans for manufacturing biodegradable microspheres for the controlled delivery of proteins.

Bruce Barclay, president and chief operating officer of SurModics, called the rationale for the investment “compelling — OctoPlus' focus on systemic drug delivery complements our focus on site-specific drug delivery. OctoPlus has an exceptional pipeline of potential new products under development, both internally and in collaboration with pharmaceutical customers. Further, since announcing our licensing agreement with OctoPlus in June, we have broadened both our working relationship with the company and our understanding of their business and continue to be highly impressed with OctoPlus' technology.“

Joost Holthuis, PhD, CEO of OctoPlus, said that the funds would be used primarily to further expand OctoPlus' product portfolio based on OctoDEX and PolyActive, which enable development of novel controlled-release formulations for established and experimental biopharmaceuticals.

The company said that its products in development address a multibillion-dollar market opportunity and are among other controlled release formulations for recombinant human growth hormone and interferon-alpha.

In other financing activity:

Select Medical (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania) reported launch of a cash tender offer to purchase any and all of the $175 million outstanding principal amount of its 9-1/2% senior subordinated notes, due 2009, and a cash tender offer to purchase any and all of the $175 million outstanding principal amount of its 7-1/2% senior subordinated notes, due 2013. In conjunction with the tender offers, Select is soliciting consents to effect certain amendments to the indentures governing the 9-1/2% notes and the 7-1/2% notes.

Among other conditions, the tender offers are conditioned upon the completion of Select's merger with EGL Acquisition, an affiliate of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe IX, expected to close in February. In addition to completion of the merger, each of the tender offers is conditioned upon a tender condition, a consent condition, a supplemental indenture condition and other customary conditions.

Select Medical operates 99 long-term acute care hospitals in 26 states; four acute medical rehabilitation hospitals in New Jersey; and is an operator of outpatient rehabilitation clinics in the U.S. and Canada.

Elekta (Stockholm, Sweden) said that on Jan. 19 it repurchased 20,000 B shares at an average price of SEK 219.04. Elekta's current holding of its own shares (treasury stock) amounts to 20,000 B shares. The total number of shares in Elekta is 31,567,454.

The repurchases currently being carried out are in line with the decision by the company's board on Dec. 14, 2004, to repurchase shares amounting in the amount of SEK 50M, corresponding to 20% of net profit in the 2003/04 fiscal year. The repurchase program is being carried out for the purpose of fulfilling the company's dividend policy, Elekta said.

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