Guidant (Indianapolis, Indiana) has completed its acquisition of AFx (Fremont, California), a portfolio company of Alta Partners. AFx will receive an up-front cash payment of $45 million and various predetermined milestone payments. Focused on microwave surgical cardiac ablation, AFx has developed a technology enabling surgeons to apply microwave energy to the surface of the heart. The company's Microwave Surgical Ablation System has been used in more than 5,000 procedures, usually in combination with coronary artery bypass surgery or valve procedures. AFx has submitted data to the FDA seeking clearance for the treatment of a specific atrial fibrillation indication. Alta Partners, AFx's lead investor, played a key role in the company's funding, strategic planning and growth since 1998. "This acquisition by Guidant provides substantial validation of not only AFx's proprietary technology and products, but also the overall corporate value that we have been able to create through our work with AFx," said Guy Nohra of Alta Partners. AFx has developed the FLEX 2, FLEX 4 and FLEX 10 Microwave Ablation Probes, sterile, single-use, hand-held surgical devices used exclusively with the AFx Microwave Generator.

Nanogen (San Diego, California), a developer of molecular diagnostics for the gene-based testing market, has its sights set on expansion into the point-of-care (POC) diagnostics sector with the acquisition of SYN X Pharma (Toronto, Ontario) in a proposed deal. The purchase will be an all-stock transaction, by way of a court-approved plan of arrangement, valued at about C$16.3 million. At closing, each SYN X common shareholder is expected to receive about C$1.45 per SYN X share in Nanogen common stock. Nanogen also will make available to SYN X a secured line of credit of C$2 million to fund working capital needs prior to closing. At closing, Nanogen will acquire the existing C$3.5 million principal amount subordinated secured debentures of SYN X in exchange for newly issued shares of Nanogen stock. SYN X is seeking to commercialize a POC diagnostic for congestive heart failure (CHF), based on its licensing of the CHF marker NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro-hormone brain natriuretic peptide) from Roche Diagnostics (Mannheim, Germany). Called Nexus Dx, the test is intended to offer improvements over other CHF diagnostics, including stability at room temperature and quicker results, Nanogen said. SYN X currently markets its POC tests for myocardial infarction in Europe and Canada, and for infectious diseases and drugs of abuse in Canada. Nanogen intends to operate SYN X as a business unit and said it will retain the SYN X brand name and the Toronto research facility.