Life sciences briefing: Monday, Oct. 29, 2007

Featured companies: Azaya Therapeutics, Global Care Solutions, Oxford Immunotec, RealSelf.com, Sequoia Pharmaceuticals, Tactile Systems Technology, WellGen, Zeltiq Aesthetics

UPDATED: Expanded items on Oxford Immunotec, Zeltiq, Tactile Systems, RealSelf.com and Global Care.

oxford-immunotec-logo.jpgOxford Immunotec pulls in $40M for TB tests — Oxford Immunotec, a U.K. biotech focused on new diagnostic tests for infectious disease, raised $40 million in a third financing round. The company’s release is here (PDF). Investors included Clarus Ventures, Wellington Partners, Kuwait-based National Technology Enterprises Company, the Prelude Trust, Quester and the Dow Chemical Company.

The company’s diagnostic tests identify and measure the activity of immune-system “effector T cells,” whose levels generally correspond to the severity of infection. Oxford Immunotec’s first product is a new diagnostic for tuberculosis designed to replace a century-old skin test. The company says its test has been approved in Europe, Canada and more than 40 other countries. The latest funds will support the U.S. launch of the product.

zeltiq-logo.jpgZeltiq raises $20.3M for fat reduction — Pleasanton, Calif.-based Zeltiq Aesthetics, a stealthy cosmetic-procedures device maker, raised $20.3 million in a second funding round, VentureWire reports (subscription required), citing a regulatory filing. The company was formerly known as Juniper Medical.

Zeltiq is apparently focused on “new technologies for fat layer reduction” that require “little or no recovery time.” The company’s investors include Advanced Technology Ventures, Frazier Healthcare Ventures and family trusts associated with officers of the medical-device incubator The Foundry, including Hank Plain, Hanson Gifford and Mark Deem.

Tactile Systems Tech receives $11.8M for lymphadema treatment — Minneapolis-based Tactile Systems Technology, a maker of computer-controlled pressure garments designed to treat fluid-related swelling known as edema, raised $11.8 million. The private-equity firm Galen Partners led the round.

realself-logo.jpgCosmetic-procedure review site RealSelf.com takes sub-$1M seed funding — RealSelf.com, a Seattle-based Web site that hosts reviews of various cosmetic procedures, raised a seed round of funding last July and formally launched its service last Friday. The company’s release is here. Investors in the seed round included Zillow CEO Rich Barton, Revenue Science CEO Bill Gossman and Nick Hanauer, a partner at Second Avenue Partners.

For some reason, RealSelf insists on billing itself as a site for discussion of “anti-aging” products, but its focus appears to lie pretty squarely in the realm of what used to be called “plastic surgery” and now is sometimes prettied up with the term “medical aesthetics.” For the record, there is a actual anti-aging movement filled with people obsessing over ways to slow or reverse the hands of time via supplements, hormones and God knows what else. Although many of its practitioners are somewhat nutty, as a movement it has virtually nothing to do with cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening, laser hair removal and wrinkle fillers, which are topic A at RealSelf.

In an interesting case of cross-item entanglement, though, there seems little doubt that Zeltiq Aesthetics (see two items up) will eventually figure in RealSelf discussions.

microsoft-logo.jpgMicrosoft acquires Thai healthcare IT provider Global Care Solutions — Microsoft, aiming to deepen its hold on healthcare-IT technology, acquired Bangkok-based Global Care Solutions for undisclosed terms. (The release is here.) Global Care’s primary accomplishment seems to have been building a digital patient-management system for Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, which is best known as a center for “medical tourists” seeking care at low prices. The WSJ health blog has a good rundown on the deal.

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