Life-science briefing: Friday, March 14, 2008

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Cantimer takes in $2M for dehydration diagnostics –The mystery of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Cantimer has resolved a bit. We wrote about this stealthy company back in December and reached the conclusion that the company was developing a particular type of nanosensor intended to identify water levels in human tissue.

Now VentureWire reports that Cantimer is doing just that, using a polymer-based sensor for measuring dehydration in saliva. The company plans to market the device in sports medicine and pediatric and elderly care as well as to hospitals and emergency rooms.

The startup also just raised $2 million in a first funding round. AWT Private Investments and angel investors provided the cash.

Recodagen launches, takes aim at cancer – Recodagen (no Web site), a newly launched Seattle biotech working on new cancer drugs, raised an undisclosed sum in a first funding round. The sum falls in the $2 million to $5 million range, according to John Cook’s blog.

Investors included Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Amgen Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, OVP Venture Partners and WRF Capital.

Recodagen was incubated by Seattle’s Accelerator. The company’s technology originated at Washington State University.

Juniper Diagnostics spins out of ChemSensing with new funding– ChemSensing, a Champaign, Ill., developer of sensor arrays, is spinning out Juniper Diagnostics to commercialize its technology for detecting bacteria via breath, VentureWire reports. The new startup will launch with a multi-million-dollar funding round provided by Mariner Equity Management and ChemSensing.

Juniper’s technology involves panels of reactive dyes that change color in response to chemical exposure — in this case, to gases emitted by certain classes of bacteria in the breath of patients with tuberculosis or pneumonia. The company expects that FDA approval of the device may take 18 months to two years.