SOURCE: LARTA

June 21, 2006 08:00 ET

Medical Device Entrepreneurs in the M&A Spotlight at Silicon Valley Venture Forum 2006

Close to Two Dozen Leading Device Startups Are Exhibiting as M&A Window Opens for Faster, Go-to-Market Device Products

SAN JOSE, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 21, 2006 -- How to take new, important medical device technology, such as neurostimulation therapy for stroke victims, out of the lab and into the commercial marketplace faster will be a focus of the Life Science Showcase at The Venture Forum's (http://www.theventureforum.com/) 11th annual event to be held June 28th and 29th at the San Jose Convention Center.

Some 1,000 technology, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and life science innovators, venture capital firms, government agency representatives and corporate investors will meet at the event linking early stage innovators with funding sources. Registration for the 2006 Venture Forum is $795 at http://www.theventureforum.com/registration.asp.

Close to two dozen leading medical device startups are exhibiting at the Venture Forum in which exhibitors and panelists will examine the pricing pressures on large companies developing medical device products and explore alternative means of getting new products to market, including merger and acquisition activities with smaller, entrepreneurial firms.

"This is the right time for companies to innovate more cost effective devices, at the same time fulfilling the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes," says Neven Karlovac, Ph.D., Vice President of Technology Commercialization Programs for Larta Institute, and founder of The Venture Forum.

"Pricing pressures are narrowing the pipeline for the traditional means of getting new medical devices to market, that is multinational corporations developing products and commercializing them," says Karlovac. "Health care providers, private payers and hospitals are all tightening their belts, making it less economically feasible for large companies to bear the R&D cost," he explains. The development life cycle of certain device categories, such as cardiac stents or pacemakers, is as lengthy as pharmaceutical products, adding to commercialization costs, Karlovac says.

Growth Sectors

One solution, says Karlovac, is to merge with, or acquire technology from, smaller firms working in the medical device industry's most promising sectors: therapeutic devices and aesthetic services. Karlovac notes there is also significant growth opportunity in the area of neurostimulation devices for the rehabilitation of stroke patients. These devices supplement drug therapies or replace unsuccessful drug therapies. They carry a shorter development cycle and are attractive to venture capital firms and medical device companies who can get a faster return on investment, says Karlovac.

A second high growth sector is aesthetics, in which lasers are used for a variety of procedures to improve appearance. Pricing pressures are less in this sector since many of the procedures are elective and clients will pay more for the treatments, he says.

Medical Device Panel

On June 29th, as part of the Venture Forum's Life Sciences Showcase day, the Forum will host a panel titled, "Medical Technologies: Overcoming Obstacles to Growth for Emerging Biomedical Companies." The discussion, from 2:15 to 3:15 PM, will focus on the challenges of bringing medical device technologies to the marketplace and look at partnership solutions, including M&A activity, angel investors, venture capital firms investing in the technology, and other options. Members of this panel are leading entrepreneurs, attorneys, and venture capitalists. The moderator is Casey McGlynn of Wilson Sonsini. Panelists are Keith Mullowney, Clarity Medical Systems; Hanson Gifford, The Foundry; John Maroney, Delphi Ventures, and Andrew Farquharson, Angels Forum.

Medical Device Exhibitors

These innovative companies will be presenting and exhibiting at the Venture Forum. For more information, visit: http://www.theventureforum.com/PresentingCompaniesSectorList.asp#Medical%20Devices

--  Biomedical Acoustics Research Company
--  Conversion Energy Enterprises
--  customKYnetics, Inc.
--  CyBiocare
--  General BioTechnology, LLC
--  HemoGenix, Inc.
--  Human Bionics LLC
--  Ichor Medical Systems, Inc.
--  IRID Inc.
--  Kinetic Muscles, Inc.
--  Leo Lens Technology
--  LIFETECHniques, Inc.
--  Nanoprobes, Incorporated
--  NuMask, Inc
--  OCT Medical Imaging, UCI
--  Pishon High Tech Co., Ltd.
--  Talaria Inc.
--  Therataxis, LLC
--  Tidal Photonics
--  Vascular BioSciences
--  VeriFax Corporation
--  Vesticon, Inc.
    
Following are summaries of some of the exhibitors:

Biomedical Acoustics Research Company

BARC develops innovative medical diagnostics using computerized body sound analysis. Medical knowledge, cutting edge digital signal processing, and sensor technologies are combined to produce accurate and immediate diagnoses. The lead technology has a potential market size of about $1 billion. Pipeline products include devices for diagnosing several pulmonary, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal conditions.

Conversion Energy Enterprises

Conversion Energy Enterprises (CEE) is developing laser-assisted tissue welding systems which consist of miniature lasers, surgical handpieces and light activated bioadhesives for repairing wounds, closing surgical incisions, fixing implants and grafts. These systems will replace sutures and staples for many surgical applications especially where the surgery is complex or when minimally invasive techniques are required. The benefits of tissue welding include the reduction in tissue trauma and infection, increased closure speed, and improved healing response and eliminates detrimental effects of wound leakage. CEE's systems will have widespread use in herniorrhapy, ophthalmic, orthopedic, urinary and gynecological applications.

customKYnetics, Inc.

customKYnetics, Inc. is developing exercise and motor retraining devices for use by individuals with neuromotor disabilities secondary to spinal cord injury or stroke. Several of customKYnetics' potential product offerings utilize neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) for the purposes of exercising paralyzed muscles and generating exercise movements that load bones and joints of the lower extremities. customKYnetics is additionally developing derivative devices which utilize biofeedback with or without NMES to assist clients in regaining voluntary control of paralyzed muscles.

Leo Lens Technology

Leo Lens Technology, Inc. has developed the next generation product for the lucrative $4 billion contact lens industry. With the Leo Lens technology, exact coloring and iris imaging can now be achieved creating a superior product for the cosmetic and prosthetic segment. This globally patented and FDA-approved technology is ready for manufacturing scale-up. Leo Lens is looking for both strategic and financial partners to fully commercialize this innovative product.

Forum Overview

During the June 28-29 Forum at the San Jose Convention Center, individual innovators will have the opportunity to interface with venture capital and other funding sources, as well as other entrepreneurs, through exhibits, panel discussions and networking events. The Innovation Lounge will be open 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. to enable innovators to meet one on one with potential investors A complete schedule is available at http://www.theventureforum.com/agenda.asp

June 28th features the Technology Innovation Showcase with Pavilions dedicated to DARPA, Technology Transfer, Advanced Technology, U.S. Regional Innovation and Global Innovation, including Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Canada. Innovators can connect with possible funding sources in these pavilions as well as participate in panel discussions on technology transfer, clean technology, media technology, angel investors and other topics. The keynote speaker June 28th is Renee James, Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Software and Solutions Group.

June 29th features the NIH Life Science Showcase with a focus on emerging technologies funded by NIH through Larta's NIH Commercialization Assistance Program. Exhibitors and discussion panels will include biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device technologies.

Sponsorship Opportunities

The Venture Forum sponsors include: Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, NIH, Advanced Technology Program, Morrison Foerster, Agilent Technologies, Cargill Ventures, Unilever and Enterprise Partners Venture Capital.

For information on sponsorship opportunities contact Charles R. Sena at 213-765-4836 or email at csena@larta.org

About The Venture Forum

The Venture Forum is the country's largest -- and longest running -- showcase of innovation and entrepreneurship. Since its inception in 1995, The Venture Forum has facilitated $600 million in venture capital, corporate and government investment, thereby helping innovators move high-value technologies closer to commercialization. It has been associated with several strong trends in innovation, in areas ranging from media and communications to clean technologies and materials, from ecommerce to nanotechnology. Life sciences, biotechnology and pharmaceutical innovation have also been supported by The Venture Forum.

The Venture Forum first identifies key trends in major technology sectors, then selects innovators in those areas to present their ideas to leading decision makers in the investment and corporate worlds. Every presentation made by entrepreneurs at the Forum has been carefully mentored by Larta Institute, the founders and producers of the Forum.

Unlike typical trade shows or conferences, where the event has little followup, The Venture Forum is connected year-round to funding sources through the Larta Institute.

About Larta Institute

Larta Institute's mission is to increase economic development through the improved transition of scientific and technological breakthroughs from the laboratory to the marketplace, where they can solve problems, enhance economic opportunities, advance medical care, and better people's lives. Larta Institute is an independent, private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation registered in the State of California.

Since 1993, companies helped by Larta Institute have raised over $1.5 billion in capital. Its programs serve thousands of businesspeople each year. Larta accelerates the transition of cutting-edge technologies to the marketplace by connecting innovators to investors and companies, and leveraging its extensive network of relationships and resources.

Larta Institute was originally formed in 1993 through legislation enacted by the State of California to assist small companies developing innovative technologies. The Institute has expanded dramatically since then to serve thousands of clients in a wide variety of technology sectors globally.

For more information contact Rohit Shukla, founder, at rshukla@larta.org Also visit Larta's blog at http://larta.blogspot.com/

Attendee Registration

Registration for the two-day event is $795. To register, go to http://www.theventureforum.com/registration.asp. A $150 exhibit-only pass is also available. Credentialed Media: To register for a press pass, please contact Joe Escamilla at jescamilla@larta.org or 213-765-4829 or Ashley Andrews, Terpin Communications Group, (310) 821-6100 X 109, Ashley@terpin.com.

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