A Diagnostic & Imaging Week

GeneOhm Sciences (San Diego), a developer of molecular diagnostics, reported that the company has successfully raised $14 million in a second closing of its Series C financing, bringing the total Series C round to $26 million.

The first closing was completed on Nov. 24, 2004, in conjunction with the merger of GeneOhm and Infectio Diagnostic (IDI; Quebec City, Quebec). That was followed closely by the second closing, which was finalized on Dec. 17.

New investors include Kaiser Permanente Ventures, QuestMark Partners and Posco BioVentures. Existing investors include Domain Associates, SGF Sante, CHL Medical Partners, CB Health Ventures and CDIB.

The funds will be used to accelerate commercialization of the company's proprietary technologies in molecular diagnostics for pathogens that cause infectious disease, genetic mutations linked to inherited disease and oncology.

"We are thrilled to add these world-class investors, including Kaiser Permanente, a world leader in the area of preventive healthcare," said Dr. Peter Klemm, president and CEO of GeneOhm. "The commitment of each investor and Kaiser's participation are strong signs of the importance of our products and technologies."

GeneOhm Sciences' product portfolio includes two assays cleared by the FDA and Health Canada for rapid detection of Group B Streptococcus (IDI-Strep B) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (IDI-MRSA) directly from clinical specimens.

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp; Burlington, North Carolina) reported entering into a new $350 million senior credit facility with Credit Suisse First Boston and UBS Securities, acting as co-lead arrangers, and a group of seven other financial institutions. The new facility consists of a five-year revolving credit facility in the amount of $350 million.

The new facility will be used for general corporate purposes, including working capital, capital expenditures, funding of share repurchases and other payments and acquisitions, the company said. Its previous credit agreements, under which no loans were outstanding, were terminated upon the closing of the new facility.

LabCorp reported 2003 annual revenue of $2.9 billion in 2003.

The company is a provider of more than 4,400 clinical assays, ranging from blood analyses to HIV and genomic testing, and it says it is "the first in its industry to embrace genomic testing."

In other financing activity:

The Sagemark Companies (New York) reported that it consummated the final closing of a private placement of its common stock and warrants to purchase shares of its common stock with gross proceeds totaling $7.5 million.

Joseph Stevens & Co. acted as the placement agent for the private placement.

"This funding provides the company with the opportunity to enhance shareholder value through the aggressive expansion of the company's positron emission tomography [PET] imaging center portfolio," said Ted Shapiro, Sagemark president and CEO.

PET is an advanced non-invasive medical diagnostic imaging technology currently utilized for detection of certain cancers, cardiac viability and neurological disorders that enables physicians to accurately diagnose life-threatening diseases earlier than ever before, obviating unnecessary diagnostic or invasive surgical procedures.

Meridian Bioscience (Cincinnati) said that its call for the redemption of $4 million in principal amount of its outstanding 7% convertible subordinated debentures due Sept. 1, 2006, was completed on Jan. 14.

The result of the redemption call was that $3.4 million was converted into 211,000 shares of the company's underlying common stock, and $603,000 was redeemed at par value plus accrued interest for cash.

This redemption was the second redemption of the 7% convertible debentures and is consistent with the company's previously disclosed plans and intentions to make additional redemptions, at par value, prior to the maturity date of the debentures, the company said.

The first redemption in the amount of $4 million was completed in March of last year. Following this redemption, there remains roughly $4.9 million principal amount of the 7% convertible debentures outstanding. Holders of the remaining outstanding debentures may convert their debentures into shares of common stock at $16.09 per share anytime before the maturity date.

Meridian makes a range of diagnostic test kits, purified reagents and related products and offers biopharmaceutical enabling technologies.

International Isotopes (Idaho Falls, Idaho) reported a mandatory redemption date of Feb. 25 for the company Series A warrants.

In September 2003 the company completed a rights offering to its shareholders pursuant to which the company sold 43,790,153 units of its securities. Each unit consisted of one share of common stock, one warrant to purchase an additional share of common stock for $.04 per share and one warrant to purchase another share of common stock for $.05 per share.

The company may call for redemption of all the Series A warrants at a price of $.001 each at any time, provided the average closing price of the common stock of the company as reported by Pink Sheet equaled or exceeded 12 cents for 30 consecutive trading days.

The company stock has met this requirement and the board of directors of the company has determined that it is in the best interest of the company to redeem the remaining outstanding Series A warrants at this time.

"The company expects a significant number of these warrants will be exercised prior to the redemption date and the cash provided used to complete phase I and launch phase II of the Fluorine Extraction Process (FEP) manufacturing facility," said Steve Laflin, president and CEO.

The company expects to complete phase I FEP in 2Q05 and Phase II by the end of 2005.

International Isotopes manufactures a full range of nuclear medicine calibration and reference standards, provides a selection of radioisotopes and radiochemicals for medical devices, calibration, clinical research, life sciences, and industrial applications.

Calypte Biomedical (Pleasanton, California) reported that it has issued a short-term 7% promissory note for $2 million to Marr Technologies BV, its largest stockholder. The company will use the proceeds of the note for general operating expenses, it said.

"We continue to execute our business plan and progress toward achieving our rapid-test milestones," said Dr. Richard George, president and CEO of Calypte. "We are very appreciative of Marr's continued confidence and financial support for our company and together we look forward to the commercialization of Calypte's products."

Calypte is focused on the development of diagnostic testing products for the detection of sexually transmitted diseases.

Molecular Diagnostics (Chicago) reported completing the payments to settle an Internal Revenue Service federal payroll tax liability. Over the past 12 months, the company said it has paid the IRS about $750,000 to settle this liability, calling this "a major issue" in its financial restructuring.

Molecular Diagnostics develops cancer-screening systems, which can be used in a laboratory or at the point of care, to assist in the early detection of cervical, gastrointestinal and other cancers.

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