Life sciences briefing: Monday, Sept. 10, 2007

Featured companies: BioVascular, Carefx, ClinResearch, Healthcare Management Directions, NanoCor, OxyPlus, Revitus, Spotlight Surgical, United BioSource

UPDATED: See below.Healthcare IT provider Carefx pulls in $17.9M — Carefx, a Scottsdale, Ariz., provider of hardware and software that “aggregates” patient records, has raised $17.85 million in a third funding round, Private Equity Hub reports, citing a regulatory filing. Investors included Carlyle Venture Partners and UV Partners.

Carefx’s pitch is basically the same as that from any system integrator — a term guaranteed to glaze eyes in most circumstances — in that they offer to tie together hospital-patient information that’s currently scattered across disparate computer systems. As with all system-integration pitches, it sounds like a terrific idea, if it works. Of course, many systems-integration efforts often only work after creating a significant amount of chaos and disarray within their respective organizations, which would certainly be interesting in critical-care areas such as the emergency room or intensive care. None of which to say that efforts to make electronic medical records more comprehensive and easier to use aren’t worthy, of course.

spotlight-surgical-logo.jpgMedical imager Spotlight Surgical pulls in $7.4M — San Francisco’s Spotlight Surgical, a maker of medical-visualization software, raised about $7.42 million in a second funding round, Private Equity Hub reports, citing a regulatory filing. Attractor Ventures led the round.

Secretive drug developer OxyPlus gets $8M — OxyPlus, a Boston biotech working on drugs for cancer and heart disease, raised $8 million in a first funding round, VentureWire reports (subscription required). Index Ventures provided the funding, which follows an undisclosed amount of angel seed investment.

From the VentureWire story:

Based in Boston, OxyPlus is developing compounds discovered by Claude Nicolau, a professor at the Universite Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, and Jean-Marie Lehn, a professor at the College de France. [President Conrad] Bletzer said the company is keeping the scientific details under wraps, but the company’s drugs are being targeted for several high-profile indications. “They’re small molecules for the treatment of cardiovascular issues and cancer,” he said.

nanocor-logo.jpgMedtronic pumps up to $7.5M into heart treater NanoCor — Chapel Hill, N.C.-based NanoCor Therapeutics, a biotech working on gene therapy for heart failure, raised $3.75 million from Medtronic, with another $3.75 million dependent upon certain performance milestones.

For some reason, NanoCor doesn’t want to come right out and say it’s a gene therapy company — instead, it wants to create the first “intracellular genetic protein therapy” for heart failure. That amounts to the same thing, since the company plans to use some sort of nanoparticle to shuttle a “proprietary” and so-far unnamed gene to the heart, where it will be taken up by heart cells in order to begin producing some form of useful protein.

NanoCor plans to use nanoparticle technology from Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, or AskBio, from which NanoCor was spun out in 2005. Medtronic will have certain rights to license any resulting treatment.

Healthcare Management Directions gets almost $1.5M for “smart hospitals” — Brentwood, Tenn.-based Healthcare Management Directions, developer and would-be operator of “smart hospitals” with a heavy emphasis on IT systems and electronic records, raised just under $1.5 million in a first funding round following its 2004 recapitalization, VentureWire reports. Investors included Evergreen Investments and new and undisclosed individual and institutional investors. The funding will cover the firm’s investment in an Oklahoma facility it plans to manage.

Heart-drug developer BioVascular acquires Revitus for platelet drug — BioVascular, a San Diego biotech at work on anti-clotting drugs, acquired Revitus, another biotech working on similar drugs. Terms of the deal weren’t announced. Revitus was founded out of the Oregon Health & Science University in 2004.

United BioSource acquires controlling stake in ClinResearch — United BioSource, a Bethesda, Md., a provider of various services to the life-sciences industry, acquired a controlling stake in ClinResearch, a German firm with expertise in designing and conducting flexible, or “adaptive,” clinical trials. The companies didn’t announce financial terms.

UPDATE (1:00pm PT): Added items on NanoCor, Healthcare Management Directions, BioVascular/Revitus, and United BioSource/ClinResearch.

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