Life sciences briefing: Monday, Dec. 31, 2007

TODAY’S HEADLINES:

PowerVision pulls in $20M for intraocular lenses — Belmont, Calif.-based PowerVision, a device company developing implantable intraocular lenses, raised $20 million in a second funding round, VentureWire reports. Investors included Advanced Technology Ventures, Frazier Healthcare Ventures and J.P. Morgan Partners.

Although PowerVision’s Web site seems to be offline, the VW report says the company is working on fluid-controlled lenses designed to treat presbyopia, an age-related far-sightedness in which the eye loses its ability to focus on nearby objects. The PowerVision lenses apparently respond to natural muscular forces in the eye, which presumably squish around liquid in the lens to alter its shape and thereby change focus.

The new funding should carry PowerVision a third of the way through its clinical trials, which it expects to begin in late 2008 or early 2009. The company previously raised $9 million in late 2004.Heart device maker Mitralign raises $24M — Mitralign, a Tewksbury, Mass., developer of minimally invasive methods for repairing the heart’s mitral valve, raised $24 million in a third funding round. Investors included Medtronic, Johnson and Johnson Development Corp., Oakwood Medical, Palisades Capital, Accelerated Technology Partners, Forbion, Giza, Oxford Biosciences and Triathlon Medical Venture Partners.

Mitralign is yet another device startup hoping to treat heart failure by repairing the mitral valve, which regulates the flow of blood through the heart’s left chambers. The company doesn’t seem to have divulged much about its particular technological approach yet, but we previously covered two other startups with similar aims, eValve and Cardiosolutions, here and here.

lifeonkey-logo-150px.jpgLifeOnKey, electronic medical-record IT firm, draws $5M of $10M round — LifeOnKey, a Baltimore, Md., startup offering technology to support electronic medical records, raised $5 million as part of an expected $10 million financing round. Medica Venture Partners provided the funding.

Formerly known as Global Medical Networks, LifeOnKey offers individual patients an electronic medical record that integrates their health information and access it via the Internet or mobile devices such as cellphones. The company claims to have a million subscribers in Israel and Europe, and plans to quintuple that number in 2008.

Unlike Microsoft’s HealthVault, which we reviewed here and here, LifeOnKey charges individuals to store their medical info. A basic plan starts at $50 a year, plus a $5 registration fee and another one-time $20 fee to activate a USB key-based security system. Premium plans that regularly collect, scan and incorporate paper-based medical info, among other things, cost an unspecified additional amount.

I haven’t had a chance to see what the service itself looks like, but I hope to take a closer look before long. In the meantime, there’s another major difference with the similar Microsoft service — LifeOnKey pledges to adhere to the privacy protections laid out by the federal healthcare law known as HIPAA.

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