Bio-optics startups LensX, AOptix, and BiOptix raise >$38 million total

APRIL 7, 2009--Three companies have recently raised more than $38 million among them to fund further development of their bio-optics and biophotonics products. LensX Lasers (Aliso Viejo, CA), maker of cataract surgery lasers, has raised $22.36 million in Series B funding, while iris recognition developer AOptix Technologies (Campbell, CA) recently closed a $12.9 million financing round. Meanwhile biomolecule detection company BiOptix Diagnostics (Boulder, CO) has raised $3 million in a Series A round.

LensX Lasers Inc.
According to a regulatory filing, Versant Ventures was joined by return backers InterWest Partners and SV Life Sciences to raise LensX Lasers Inc.'s $22.36 million Series B funding round. The LenxX founding team is the sale group that founded IntraLase, a VC-backed company acquired by Advanced Medical Optics (AMO)--now Abbott Medical Optics following the January 2009 acquisition--for $808 million in 2007.

AOptix Technologies Inc.
Northgate Capital (Danville, CA) led the raising of $12.9 million in financing for AOptix Technologies, developer of advanced iris recognition systems and ultra-high bandwidth wireless optical communication solutions. Venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Clearstone Venture Partners, DAG Ventures, W Capital Partners and Lehman Brothers also participated in the funding. AOptix is currently in production and launch of its first commercial product release for the iris biometrics market, the InSight 2 Meter Iris Recognition System.

"In today's economy, it is very reassuring to have our company backed by such an outstanding investment group. Their vision, leadership and continued commitment to pioneering innovative technology products is extraordinary," says AOptix Chairman and CEO Dean Senner.

BiOptix Diagnostics Inc.
And finally, BiOptix Diagnostics' $3 million Series A round will help the company start commercializing its biomolecule detection technology later this year. Boulder Ventures led the round, which included individual investors as well. BiOptix founder Misha Plam previously was president and chief executive of Sievers Instruments Inc., which was also backed by Boulder Ventures.

BiOptix has developed an array-based system--designed to enable quality assurance in drug development by measuring compound concentrations--which it plans to begin shipping in the third quarter of 2009. The company will target pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical customers, as well as academic institutions, and is seeking customer-partners for customized joint development.

The company's technology reportedly has broad application, and may be developed in the future for uses in areas such as infectious disease and medical diagnosis. Its technology was co-invented by John "Jan" Hall, who won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics.

With the new round, Rick Whitcomb, who previously was president and chief operating officer, was named president and CEO.

For more information on LensX, stay tuned for updates to the company's "under construction" website. You can find further information on AOptix Technologies, Inc. immediately, though. And for details on biosensor technology, visit BiOptix (formerly AlphaSniffer) online.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for BioOptics World.

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