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San Diego Life Sciences Roundup: Digirad, AMN Healthcare, and More

Xconomy San Diego — 

With the exception of a new buyout-focused diagnostics company, it seemed to be the week for relatively small deals for San Diego’s life sciences companies. Here’s my roundup.

—Former Gen-Probe CEO Carl Hull and strategist Eric Tardif have formed Maravai Life Sciences and entered into a partnership with GTCR, a Chicago private equity firm, to acquire companies and products focused on in vitro testing and diagnostics, lab services, and related life sciences tools.  After raising a new $3.3 billion fund, GTCR will invest up to $300 million to support Maravai’s roll-up strategy.

—San Diego medical software developer CorTechs Labs has secured $1.2 million from investors, according to a recent regulatory filing. In a statement, the company said the Series B round of financing, led by the Malaysian investment holding company Genting Berhad through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Dragasac Ltd., is intended to accelerate development of the company’s brain atrophy analysis software, and to expand its sales and marketing initiatives.

Digirad (Nasdaq: DRAD), a diagnostic imaging services provider based in Poway, CA, said it acquired certain assets of Memphis, TN-based Telerhythmics, a 24-hour cardiac event monitoring service used by hospitals and physician offices. Digirad CFO Jeffry Keyes said in an e-mail that Digirad paid $3.47 million in cash, and assumed $131,000 in debt. Digirad provides in-office nuclear gamma cameras used in cardiology imaging, ultrasound imaging services, and cardiac event monitoring services to physician practices, hospitals and imaging centers.

AMN Healthcare Service (NYSE: AHS), the San Diego-based provider of healthcare nursing and healthcare staffing services, said it made a $5 million strategic investment in PipelineRx, a San Francisco-based telepharmacy company. PipelineRx uses a private network of telepharmacists and software-as-a-service to help hospitals provide cost-efficient pharmacy services.

—San Diego’s Cardium Therapeutics, which trades over the counter under the ticker symbol CRXM, said it has changed its name to Taxus Cardium Pharmaceuticals in a strategic collaboration with China-based Shanxi Taxus Pharmaceuticals. Under the deal, Shanxi Taxus agreed to invest as much as $5 million in Cardium.

—San Diego-based Trovagene (NASDAQ: TROV) said it entered into a strategic partnership with the Catholic Health Initiatives Center for Translational Research to determine the effectiveness of Trovagene’s urine-based cell-free DNA diagnostic technology as a tool for measuring the effectiveness of cancer treatments. Trovagene said the ability to non-invasively track how much benefit a patient receives through the course of his treatment could shape how oncology care is delivered. The Catholic Health Initiatives, based in suburban Denver, CO, comprises 87 hospitals in 18 states.

—San Diego’s Daylight Solutions, which specializes in mid-infrared laser technologies, introduced a new product—a commercial laser-based infrared microscope. In a statement, the company said its technology opens new biomedical research possibilities with chemical imaging and analysis on a real-time basis, enabling researchers to observe micron-scale features in a wide-field view.