Life sciences briefing: Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2007

(UPDATED at 7:40pm PT: See below.)

Featured companies: Adnexus Therapeutics, BioForm Medical, Confirma, Cardiovascular Systems, Mirabilis Medica, Neuromed Pharmaceuticals, PlaCor, Seno Medical Instruments, Vibrynt

bioform-logo.jpgBioForm Medical files $115M IPO for “medical aesthetics” — BioForm Medical, a San Mateo, Calif., developer of wrinkle fillers and other products for cosmetic procedures, filed to raise $115 million in an initial offering. BioForm’s major customers are plastic surgeons and dermatologists.

BioForm, however, takes pains to describe itself differently on its Web site. There, BioForm says it is “a privately-held medical device company developing and commercializing injectable implant products for soft and hard tissue augmentation.” It goes on to note that its main product, Radiesse, is marketed for “radiographic tissue marking, vocal cord insufficiency, craniofacial augmentation, and outside of the U.S for facial soft tissue augmentation.”

That all sounds pretty serious — nothing like expensive wrinkle treatments, right? But in its IPO filing, where stretching the truth could get it in trouble with the SEC, BioForm describes itself straightforwardly as “a medical aesthetics company focused on developing and commercializing products that are used by physicians to enhance a patient’s appearance.” As for Radiesse, it notes that “[w]e obtained FDA pre-market approval, or PMA, for our key commercial application of Radiesse, the correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds in December 2006.”

BioForm is not profitable, and its losses have widened over the past three years, although sales have increased over that period. The company accumulated a net loss of $35.2 million from 2005 to 2007 (its fiscal year ends June 30).

vibrynt-logo.jpgStealthy Vibrynt raises $16M for medical devices — Vibrynt, a Mountain View, Calif., medical-device maker that has just spun out of the ExploraMed device incubator, raised $16 million in a first funding round, VentureWire reports (subscription required), citing regulatory filings. Investors included New Enterprise Associates and Delphi Ventures; NEA backs ExploraMed.

The financing closed in April. Vibrynt doesn’t have a Web site and hasn’t yet disclosed details about its technology.

cardiovascular-systems-logo.jpgCardiovascular Systems raises $12.5M against peripheral artery disease — Cardiovascular Systems, a St. Paul, Minn., device maker focused on the removal of arterial plaque, raised $12.5 million in a still-open extension of its first funding round, VentureWire reports. The funding reportedly came from “some” of the company’s original investors, a group that includes Easton Capital Group, Maverick Capital, Mitsui & Co. Venture Partners and ITX Institutional Holdings.

Cardiovascular Systems has developed a device that essentially “sands” artery-blocking deposits known as plaque from the inside surfaces of blood vessels. The catheter-based device uses a rotating, diamond-coated head to scrub plaque from arteries. The company told VentureWire it is anticipating FDA clearance of the device within the next few weeks.

mirabilis-logo.gifMirabilis Medica gets $10.5M for fibroid treatment — Seattle’s Mirabilis Medica, a medical-device company focused on women’s health, raised $10.5 million in an extension to its first funding round. Investors included Arboretum Ventures, Split Rock Partners, Dow Venture Capital, and an individual investor.

Mirabilis Medica uses high-intensity, focused ultrasound to destroy tumors such as uterine fibroids by denaturing cellular proteins and causing cells to collapse into piles of goo. The company says the device may ultimately useful in other applications as well, but hasn’t yet specified them.

confirma-logo.JPGConfirma gets $2 million for medical-image analysis — Bellevue, Wash.-based Confirma, a maker of computer systems that automate the interpretation of medical images, raised $2 million in bridge financing on its way to a potential $15 million third round, VentureWire reports. Fluke Venture Partners provided the funding. Confirma’s first product analyzes MRI breast scans, and the company plans to launch a similar system for prostate MRIs later this year.

placor-logo.jpgPlaCor receives $3.5M for blood diagnostics — Plymouth, Minn.-based PlaCor, which just named a new CEO yesterday (see the last item in our briefing here), has also raised $3.5 million in a second funding round, VentureWire reports. Funding was provided by “accredited angel investors,” the company told VentureWire. PlaCor develops diagnostic tests of platelet reactivity, which can help physicians monitor patient response to blood-thinning drugs that help prevent or break up clots.

neuromed-logo.jpgNeuromed raises $53M, some from mystery investors – Vancouver’s Neuromed Pharmaceuticals, battered earlier this month after it discontinued work on a new pain drug in collaboration with Merck (see our coverage in the third item of this daily briefing), raised $53.3 million in a fifth funding round. The company didn’t disclose the lead investors or new investors in the round, acknowledging only “significant participation” from existing investors including MPM Capital, James Richardson & Sons, Neuro Discovery LP, GrowthWorks Capital (Working Opportunity Fund), BDC Venture Capital, CMDF, and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Neuromed, whose partnership with Merck continues, also recently licensed another experimental pain drug from a J&J subsidiary. BioWorld has more here.

adnexus-logo.jpgAdnexus files for $86M IPO to develop new targeted biologics — Adnexus Therapeutics, a Waltham, Mass., biotech working on a new class of drugs it calls “Adnectins,” filed to raise as much as $86.25 million in an IPO. The company’s Adnectin drug candidates are engineered proteins derived from human fibronectin, a natural protein that plays a role in wound healing and binding cell receptor proteins.

Adnexus has seven drug candidates in development, only one of which has proceeded to human testing. The company intends to target cancer and other conditions such as autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease. (See our earlier coverage of the company in the fourth item of this daily briefing.)

seno-logo.jpgSeno receives $2M for early cancer detection — Seno Medical Instruments, a San Antonio, Tex., device maker focused on early cancer detection, received $2 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. Seno is developing “opto-acoustic” technology designed to indicate the presence of new blood vessels that feed tumors.

UPDATE (10:15am PT): Added items on Mirabilis Medica, Confirm and PlaCor.

UPDATE REDUX (7:40pm PT): Added items on Neuromed, Adnexus and Seno.