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Deals of Year Spotlight Financings, Acquisitions, Emerging Stars

Friday, January 6, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Angela King
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ATLANTA, GA (January 6, 2012) -- Georgia Bio announced its 2012 Deals of the Year for pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical device companies in four categories – public and private financings, fast growing companies, acquisitions and SBIR grants – reflecting a broad range of activity.  

The annual Deal of the Year awards recognize transactions by life sciences companies in Georgia that are significant to state’s industry development. The recipients will receive their awards at the Georgia Bio Annual Awards Dinner January 26, 6 pm to 9 pm, at Atlanta’s Fox Theater. 
 
All deals occurred in 2011. The recipients are:  CryoLife of Kennesaw, a biological medical device company that, since its founding in 1984, has been focused on the development of implantable tissues, medical devices, surgical adhesives, and biomaterials for use in cardiac and vascular surgeries for patients of all ages.  EndoChoice of Alpharetta, a technology provider for specialists treating a wide range of gastrointestinal diseases and offering a comprehensive portfolio of GI devices and procedural support.  Immucor of Norcross, a global in vitro diagnostics company specializing in the area of pre-transfusion diagnostics, including development, manufacture, and sales of products used by hospitals, clinical laboratories, and blood donor centers to detect and identify certain properties of human blood prior to patient transfusion.     Inhibitex of Alpharetta, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of innovative products that can treat or prevent serious infections.  The Innovation Factory of Duluth, which acquires novel medical technology ideas from individual inventors, corporations and universities, develops the ideas comprehensively from proof of concept to FDA approval into marketable products, and then launches businesses around the products.    NeurOp of Atlanta, a biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines to treat central nervous system disorders, including major depression, neuropathic pain, ischemia, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease.   

Public Financing 
Immucor was acquired by TPG Capital in a privatization transaction worth $27 per share or approximately $1.9 billion. Completion of the transaction by investment funds managed by TPG Capital was announced in August 2011. The share price represented a 36 percent premium over Immucor’s average closing price in the month prior to announcement of the sale. Following completion of the acquisition, Immucor named William A. Hawkins as CEO. Before joining Immucor, Mr. Hawkins served as Chairman and CEO of Medtronic, and was CEO of Novoste, another Atlanta-based medical technology company. 
Inhibitex, led by President and CEO Russell Plumb, raised $47 million in a public offering of 11.5 million shares at $4.10 per share in April 2011. The company’s shares ended the year at $10.94. Inhibitex will use the net proceeds from the offering for working capital and general corporate purposes, including a Phase 2 clinical trial for INX-189, a nucleotide polymerase inhibitor that it is developing for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infections, and research and development expenses related to its other development programs.     
 
Private Financing 
The Innovation Factory, led by President and CEO Anthony V. Lando, negotiated financings for two of its portfolio companies, Sebacia Inc. and Halscion Inc., for a total of $9.1 million in 2011. Sebacia, a medical technology start-up focused on dermatology, raised nearly $5.6 million. Halscion, developing a device for the reduction in the appearance of scars resulting from acute surgical wounds, raised $3.5 million.     
 
Acquisitions    CryoLife, led by President and CEO Steven G. Anderson, acquired Cardiogenesis in 2011 and invested in ValveXchange, with the right of first refusal to acquire the company. The acquisition of Cardiogenesis adds to CryoLife’s portfolio a leading surgical product used in the treatment of diffuse coronary artery disease and severe angina. Cardiogenesis had sales of approximately $11 million in 2010 and approximately $3.1 million in the first quarter of 2011. CryoLife made a $3.5 million equity investment in VaveXchange. The private medical device company is a spin-off from the Cleveland Clinic and is developing a lifetime heart valve replacement technology platform featuring exchangeable bioprosthetic leaflets. CryoLife received an approximate 19 percent initial equity ownership in ValveXchange and a right of first refusal to acquire the company as well as the right to negotiate for European distribution rights. 

Fast Growing Company 
EndoChoice, led by Founder and CEO Mark Gilreath, was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in America in 2011.  The company was listed as No. 6 in the nation among Healthcare companies and No. 103 among all companies in the Inc. 500. Since its inception in 2008, EndoChoice has emerged as a leading platform company for medical professionals treating gastrointestinal diseases. The company raised $4.8 million in 2011. EndoChoice develops and markets differentiated products for more than 1,600 customers in the US through its direct sales force.  The company also works with distributors in 30 countries. EndoChoice employs over 130 people from its headquarters in Alpharetta. 

SBIR Grant/Preclincal Funding 
NeurOp, led by President and CEO Barney Koszalka, was awarded a $3 million Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to support the company’s research program for ischemia. NeurOp will use the funding to advance its lead molecule to an Investigational New Drug (IND) filing for the treatment of subarachnoid hemorrhage and those patients at risk of stroke.  
 
Georgia Bio is the private, non-profit association representing pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies, medical centers, universities, research institutes, government groups and other organizations involved in the development of products that improve the health and well-being of people, animals and the environment. 

Note to Editors: Credentialed members of the news media are invited to attend. Registration is complimentary. Please contact Maria Thacker (404-920-2042; maria.thacker@gabio.org).

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