Life sciences briefing: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008

TODAY’S HEADLINES:

zonare-logo.gifCompact ultrasound maker Zonare Medical raises $30M – Zonare Medical Systems, a Mountain View, Calif., maker of ultrasound-imaging systems, raised $30 million in a recent seventh funding round, VentureWire reports. Existing investors provided the funding, a group that includes Frazier Healthcare Ventures, 3i Group, Mosaix Ventures, CB Health Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvestson, Ascension Health Ventures, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Earlybird, Saints Capital, Merrill Lynch Venture Capital and Texas Instruments.

The company said the funding should set it on the road to profitability and eventually to a hope-for IPO. Zonare makes compact ultrasound systems that can be used in sonography and for a variety of other medical diagnostic purposes.

therox-logo-150px.gifTherOx raises $30M for hypersaturated-oxygen devices – TherOx, an Irvine, Calif., maker of oxygenation devices for treating heart attacks, raised $30 million in a tenth funding round, peHUB reports. Investors included Kleiner Perkins, Integral Capital Partners and New Science Ventures.

The startup makes devices that supersaturate blood with oxygen, then infuse that blood into areas of the heart at risk of damage from oxygen starvation due to a heart attack. TherOx has now raised over $120 million in venture funding.

accumetrics-logo-150px.gifAccumetrics, antiplatelet-drug diagnostic maker, raises $29M – San Diego’s Accumetrics, a maker of diagnostics that measure patient response to anti-platelet drugs, raised $28.8 million in a fourth round of funding. Investors included Arnerich Massena & Associates, BBT Fund, Essex Woodland Health Ventures, RiverVest, PTV Sciences, KB Partners and Kaiser Permanente Ventures.

The startup makes a system that measures how well individuals are reacting to treatment with anti-platelet drugs, which are used to prevent or help dislodge major blood clots. Since patient response can vary widely, often as a result of genetic factors (see our coverage of this sort of “personalized medicine” here), such monitoring can help doctors avoid dangerous overdoses or to switch unresponsive patients to higher doses or different drugs as necessary.

Population Genetics Technologies takes in £3.8M for massively parallel genome studies – Population Genetics Technologies, a U.K. startup devoted to technologies for studying thousands of genomes at once, raised £3.8 million ($5.9 million) in a first funding round, GenomeWeb reported. Investors included Auriga Partners, Noble Fund Managers, and Compass Genetics Investors.

The company raised £1.1 million in seed funding from the Wellcome Trust back in 2005 to aid in the development of the technology. PGT is working on a technique devised by Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner that purports to analyze genetic variation in DNA samples from thousands of individuals at once.

In this 2005 release, PGT co-founder Sam Eletr described the method as “will allow the mixing of thousands of samples in one test tube and the simultaneous interrogation [analysis] of all of them in one experiment, instead of in as many experiments as there are genomes in a population…. We expect our technology to allow handling much larger numbers of genomes than pooling does and to have the further advantage of protecting the identities of individuals involved in any population study by allocating them a code that may be kept confidential. We expect it also be applicable to any collection of DNA molecules and genomes, whether from plants, animals, micro-organisms or humans.”

PGT also named Mel Kronick, a former R&D manager at both Agilent Technologies and Applied Biosystems, as CEO.