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December 02, 2005

Medical scanner firm cuts deal with Mayo Foundation, gets Mayo Medical Ventures funding

San Diego-based Naviscan PET Systems, Inc., a privately held company that manufactures and develops high-resolution PET scanners, has deepened its link to Mayo Clinic through a couple recent moves, including some funding – albeit the exact amount is being withheld – from Mayo Medical Ventures.

On Nov. 29, it announced it has “entered into an agreement with Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (Mayo Clinic) to clinically validate and commercialize a dynamic patented molecular imaging agent for use with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and other imaging modalities. In accordance with the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, Mayo Clinic has licensed the vitamin B-12 molecular imaging agent technology invented by Dr. Douglas A.Collins to Naviscan PET Systems, Inc and will receive royalties from this license. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have published studies that cancers have high uptake of radioactive B-12, especially in breast tumors.

OK, I’m not sure what all that means, but it sounds like it could be profitable to Mayo. Here’s more:

"Molecular imaging agents based on Vitamin B-12 show great promise for the early detection of small tumors, especially in patients with dense breasts,” commented Dr. Douglas Collins, inventor and researcher at Mayo Clinic. ------------- Naviscan PET Systems, Inc. is the first company to obtain FDA clearance for a high-resolution PET scanner designed to image small body parts. The device was developed to help physicians and researchers diagnose and locate cancer, guide interventions, and advance new clinical therapies. Naviscanpetsystemsinc

"The combination of the Mayo Clinic’s patented Vitamin B-12 molecular imaging agent and Naviscan’s high-resolution PET scanner holds great promise for the future in terms of early detection of breast cancers,” said Paul Grayson, newly-appointed CEO of Naviscan PET Systems, Inc. and a Managing Director of Sanderling Ventures. “We sought out Naviscan’s technology to strategically invest in this important imaging technology platform.” Naviscan is planning clinical trial work with Mayo Clinic and other luminary sites in the U.S. to prove the value of the PEM Flex in breast cancer patients, as well as for evaluating PEM’s role with high-risk patients.”

Now here’s another part of the total picture, also announced on Nov. 29:

“Naviscan PET Systems has raised a $6.5 million in Series B funding for its high resolution positron emission tomography (PET) products. The firm said that it raised the round from Sanderling Ventures, with participation from Mayo Medical Ventures.

“Participation” can be pricey in such situations. I asked exactly how much of the $6.5 million they kicked in to Naviscan’s coffers and I was told “unfortunately” that is not information they typically release. I asked if anyone had asked before and tried to convince them I was not “typical” and thus outside of the usual boundaries.

I was told if they wanted that information released, they would have included it in the press release.

How boring is that?

Anyway, here’s the wrap up from the releases on this topic, sans any interesting Rochester-related monetary figures, of course.

The medical device firm also said that it has relocated its headquarters from Maryland to San Diego and appointed Paul Grayson as CEO. Grayson is a Managing Director at Sanderling Ventures.

Other new board members include Dr. Timothy Mills, Managing Director at Sanderling Ventures, and Jeffrey Torborg, New Ventures Manager with Mayo Medical Ventures.

The 12-person company is the first to obtain clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for a high resolution PET scanner designed to image small body parts.

The company decided to move to San Diego because of the labor pool in the life sciences and technology industries, the availability of financing and proximity to Poway, where some of the system’s parts are made.


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