Syncor Holdings Ltd. (SHL), an Irish company that specializes inproducing tests to diagnose tissue and organ damage,announced Tuesday that it has raised close to $1.8 million (1.25million IRP) in first-round private financing.

The investors included Biotechnology Investment Ltd., theRothschild Managed Biotechnology Fund, ICC Bank VentureCapital, Ireland and Industrial Development Authority.

SHL of Dublin was founded in 1992 as a result of the mergerbetween Syncor Ltd. (a diagnostic manufacturing company) andBiotrin International Ltd. (a medical distribution company).

SHL licenses its technology from universities, researchinstitutions and companies; it then manufactures and marketsresulting enzyme immunoassay-based diagnostic testsworldwide.

SHL is focused on developing products for niche markets --especially in the areas of tissue damage, inflammation andmonitoring of organ rejection -- explained president CormacKilty. The company is also in the process of developing tests fordetecting new, esoteric viruses, particularly those affectingimmunosuppressed patients.

SHL is already marketing a test that can identify livertransplant rejection up to four days earlier than present tests,according to Kilty. "We employ a liver protein (glutathione S-transferase) that leaks into the serum in large quantities whenthe liver is damaged," Kilty told BioWorld. "It serves as a veryearly marker for liver damage."

The test has been evaluated for detecting liver transplantrejection in a clinical setting at U.K.-based CambridgeUniversity Hospital and in hospitals in Atlanta and Pittsburgh.It's also being used by pharmaceutical companies to assessliver damage during clinical evaluation of new drugs, said Kilty.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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