Life-science briefing: Monday, March 17, 2008

TODAY’S HEADLINES:

(NOTE: Items on Cameron Health, Miramar Labs, Nellix and Chestnut Medical went up over the weekend as separate items; click the links above for details.)Consumer genetics tester DNA Direct receives $7M – Talk about hiding your light under a bushel. The San Francisco startup DNA Direct, which offers a-la-carte gene tests directly to individuals over the Internet, announced on Feb. 27 that it raised $7 million in a second round (PDF link) of funding.

Oddly, though, I haven’t seen the announcement picked up anywhere. I only learned of it from DNA Direct’s own in-house blog, which I happened across while searching for something else entirely.

In any case, Lemhi Ventures and private investors from the startup’s first round provided the funding. The company said it will use the money to help expand its efforts to “integrate” its genetic tests into doctors’ offices and clinics. DNA Direct’s first project in that regard is a Web-based guide to prenatal genetic testing called Prenatal Primer, which pregnant women can access after a referral from their doctor.

Precision Thera again prowling for venture funding – Surprise, surprise — Precision Therapeutics, the Pittsburgh cancer-diagnostics company that lost both an IPO and a potential merger in short order, is apparently once again looking for venture funding, VentureWire reports. No kidding. As I noted earlier this month, Precision had more debt than cash and a still-significant burn rate as of last Sept. 30, and things can’t have gotten much better since then.

The VentureWire story doesn’t offer many additional details, except for the fact that Precision CEO Sean McDonald hopes to close the deal by this summer. McDonald won’t even say how much the company is looking for, however, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Existing investors in the company are also close-mouthed about its fundraising prospects.

For what it’s worth, McDonald also hinted that Oracle Partners, a hedge-fund affiliate of the presumably now-unwinding blank-check company that was going to acquire Precision, may be involved in the funding.