BURLINGAME, Calif. -- Biocircuits Corp., a 2-year-old companydeveloping immunoassay diagnostic products, has completed a$6.8 million private placement.

The equity financing was led by Merrill Lynch Venture Capitaland included Weiss, Peck & Greer and Copley Venture Partnersas new investors. Existing investors Burr Egan & DeLeage,Venrock Associates, Walden Partners, Instoria Inc. andNewmarket Venture Capital also participated.

Biocircuits, which has 25 employees, raised $3.7 million in itsinitial October 1989 financing.

Robert Curry, general partner of the Sprout Group, will joinBiocircuits' board of directors. Merrill Lynch Venture Capitalwas recently merged into Sprout.

Biocircuits' diagnostic products are based on a patentedorganic molecule that can be formed into a single molecularlayer with unique optical properties, said John Kaiser,president and chief executive officer of the company.

"When you put an antibody or receptor on this film and bind anantigen to it, you get a physical change in the film and thus achange in the optical properties of the film that can bemeasured," Kaiser explained.

The company has no corporate partners, but is in the very earlystages of corporate partnering discussions, he said. "We'relooking either for someone who wants to use the system forsomething we can't do ourselves, or else offshore partners foroverseas markets."

Biocircuits also said it has hired Tom Witty as director ofassay development. Witty previously held senior R&Dmanagement positions with Sanofi Diagnostics and BectonDickinson. -- Karen Bernstein

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.