Molecular imaging co NST raises funds, changes name

The company raised $13.3 million from current investors.

Molecular imaging technology start-up NST NeuroSurvival Technologies Ltd. has raised $13.3 million from its current investors and changed its name to Aposense, the name of the company's technology. Sources inform ''Globes'' that the financing round was held at a company value of $100 million, compared with $70 million for its previous round.

Ziegler Meditech Equity, Pontifax Fund of Teva' chairman Eli Hurvitz, Docor International Management Ltd., Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd. (TASE: CBI), TechnoPlus Ventures Ltd. (TASE:TNPV), and others invested in the round. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA), which has previously invested in the company, did not participate in the current round.

Aposense is a set of original, small, rationally-designed molecules, which target and accumulate in cells undergoing apoptosis (cell death). Using PET scans, the technique can map cellular death in the body.

NST CEO Yoram Ashery said that the funding would help the company finance Phase III effectiveness trials at multiple medical centers for the company's imaging molecule for cells undergoing apoptosis. Because the molecule is injected into the body, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates that they undergo clinical trials similar to those for pharmaceuticals, albeit under shorter and less expensive procedures. The molecule has already undergone Phase I/II safety and preliminary effectiveness trials in Europe, which found that the molecule was safe for use, and identified apoptosis.

NST is a pioneer in the development of apoptosis imaging technology. NST's first target for its product is cancer. Current cancer treatments involve a great dial of trial and error. The same treatment for different tumors that appear to be the same in different patients can have radically different results, and if a treatment is unsuccessful, it is preferable to cease the treatment immediately and try something else. Choosing the right treatment in time can save lives, and unquestionably extend life and improve its quality.

NST's technology can answer whether a tumor is responding to treatment and how many cells are undergoing apoptosis within days of the start of the treatment, as opposed to alternative tests which give results after several weeks.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 20, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008 The trial will be conducted on patients with brain tumors. ApoSense can help doctors see whether chemotherapy or radiotherapy is effective in killing the cancer cells. The system can tell relatively quickly if treatment is working, even before damage to the tumor tissue can be identified externally. It is possible to adjust the dosage, direction of the radiation, and other treatment features on the basis of the results. If apoptosis has not begun, it is possible to switch immediately to other treatments.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 20, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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