Life sciences briefing: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008

TODAY’S HEADLINES:

vioptix-logo-150px.gifViOptix pulls in $12M for tissue-oxygen sensors — ViOptix, a Fremont, Calif., developer of tissue-oxygen sensors, raised $12.2 million in a fourth round of funding. Investors included Channel Medical Partners, Lincoln Funds International, Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund and Morningside Technology Ventures.

ViOptix, which was founded in 1999, makes non-invasive monitors that measure oxygen levels in the body’s tissues. Low oxygen levels can signal that a patient may have poor blood circulation, vascular disease, a tissue graft that isn’t taking, or even cancer. The company has so far raised a total of $28.7 million.

synergy-life-science-partners-logo-150px.gifSynergy Life Sciences closes $143M medical-device fund — Synergy Life Science Partners, a newish Portola Valley, Calif., venture-capital firm, raised $143 million for its first fund, which will focus on medical-device investments. The firm was founded in 2006.

The firm intends to invest in early-stage companies developing medical devices or “combination” devices that deliver a drug of some sort to a particular location in the body. The company’s areas of interest include heart disease, bone and spinal disorders, metabolic conditions such as diabetes, neurological problems and eye conditions.

Synergy was founded by John Onopchenko, Richard Stack and William Starling. Onopchenko was most recently lead medical-device investor for Johnson & Johnson‘s VC unit. Stack and Starling co-founded Synecor, a medical-device incubator with operations in California and North Carolina. Synergy will have the right to invest in Synecor companies.

go-fig-logo-85px.gifVenture-backed Go Fig. files for bankruptcy protection — Go Fig., a venture-backed “medical aesthetics” startup in St. Louis, Mo., has filed for bankrupty protection, VentureWire reports (subscription required). Last month, the company closed 17 of its 18 clinics across the U.S.

Go Fig., formerly known as Advanced LipoDissolve, offered “micro-injections” that it claimed would dissove fat cells. The active chemical in its procedure isn’t regulated by the FDA, although some state officials have raised concerns about its safety. The company was backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, which last September plowed at least $10 million into Go Fig. to assist with its clinic-expansion plans.