Saturday, January 08, 2005

Biophan buying controlling interest in Amris

Biophan (Rochester, NY) will pay about $4 million to acquire 51 percent of Amris, based in Castrop-Rauxel, Germany. In the deal, Biophan also will acquire the exclusive license to 15 issued and pending patents covering imaging of devices such as stents and other vascular implants.

Amris' portfolio includes a stent and catheter marker visible with an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). The German company also brings extensive research facilities, Weiner said. Amris has consulting agreements with several MRI manufacturers and several millions of dollars in research grants from the German government.

The deal highlights the value of IP in the acquisition, including not only the patents and patent applications, but also the consulting agreements and ongoing research grants. Biophan itself has benefitted from the Bayh-Dole Act in patents licensed from Johns Hopkins University.

from a press release:

MRI is one of medicine's most important imaging and diagnostic tools. It uses powerful magnetic fields to create internal images of the human body. However, many medical devices--such as cardiovascular stents and vena cava filters--cannot be effectively imaged with the MRI imaging process, and devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators are unsafe near an MRI machine.

To date, biomedical industry leaders Boston Scientific and Medtronic have announced involvement in projects to make certain product lines MRI-safe. Biophan announced last year an expanded relationship with Boston Scientific to develop several types of medical devices that are both MRI-safe and image compatible. Biophan has also announced the issuance of a number of key patents on next-generation methods to make a range of medical devices both safe and imageable under MRI.

As part of the overall AMRIS acquisition, Biophan receives the worldwide exclusive license to fifteen issued and pending patents held by Dr. Melzer, a physician and radiologist active in the development of MRI related surgical tools and diagnostics procedures. One of the issued U.S. patents covers the addition of resonant circuits to a broad range of medical devices to make them MRI-imageable. "This technology is a powerful complement to Biophan's thin film nanomagnetic particle coating technology," said Mr. Weiner. "In addition, Dr. Melzer's patent also includes a potentially valuable method of placing a stent in a fine wire mesh which can make virtually any stent visible under MRI. The AMRIS innovation can allow MRI visible stents to enter the market that much faster, and the combination gives Biophan access to multiple approaches to stent visibility."

Today stents that are suspected of being blocked after implantation often require an invasive procedure to image and diagnose. Biophan and AMRIS solutions enable stents to be viewed under MRI without being subject to the Faraday Cage effect, an electrical phenomenon that ordinarily makes stent-imaging extremely difficult. [IPBiz note: High frequency fields, of the type used in MRI, cannot penetrate electronic conductors (eg, metals, graphite) because of the skin effect, wherein the free electrons of the conductor act to oppose the impinging field. Because of the lack of penetration, one cannot observe what is shielded by the metal. Furthermore, electronic conductors act to de-tune the resonant circuit needed for the magnetic resonance.]

"We wish to offer our customers the broadest possible set of alternative solutions to making devices safe and visible, said Mr. Weiner. "The AMRIS patents will further strengthen Biophan's rich intellectual property portfolio, which includes patents under license from Johns Hopkins University and Nanoset, LLC. The exclusive license from AMP, a holding company owned by Dr. Melzer and Dr. Friebe, a partner in AMRIS, are a key component of our overall acquisition strategy. Equally important, the acquisition of AMRIS enables us to harness the expertise and creativity of Dr. Melzer and his team, with their proven abilities for continued innovation. Biophan will also benefit from ongoing work AMRIS is conducting with several million dollars in government grants, covering a variety of devices in development. Biophan will supply the needed matching funds."

"The transition for a $12+ billion dollar industry to adopt these new technologies which will allow them to make devices safe and compatible with MRI is going to take time and resources," said Mr. Weiner. "This acquisition gives Biophan significant additional technical, intellectual and human resources to help accomplish what has been, from our founding in 2000, our primary mission."


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