Dean Janes started his first business out of the back of his car, remanufacturing medical equipment used in surgery centers and physicians’ offices. Having had success with that business, Janes approached an angel investment company in 2002 about funding a device of his own creation. His idea was to create a device that produces 3D medical diagnostic images of any part of the human body in real time. The product, called the Dominion, attracted the interest of the Wings Fund, which provided Janes with seed money in exchange for a very small portion of ownership in the company, and set out to make sure the technology had not been previously patented. “We went to Pillsbury Winthrop (Shaw Pittman), the third-largest patent law firm in the nation, and found that the space was wide open,” said Janes. Some medical devices, like MRIs or CT scanners, can provide 3D images, Janes said, but they only show an image of a single event. Other real-time 3D devices have to be constantly moved, or require physicians to reposition a patient several times. The Dominion, however, scans around a body in 360 degrees, taking digital images any where from 0.2 to 0.8 seconds. The result is a constantly changing three dimensional image of a body that can be consulted by trauma physicians removing a bullet, Janes, CEO of Burbank-based public company Imaging3, started his training in the Army in the 1980s and has been a biomedical technology engineer. Janes said that the decision to take his company public was a risk, but ultimately he was unwilling to give venture capitalists a controlling interest in the business. “I didn’t found this company 13 years ago to be an employee,” Janes said. “Going public give us access to a market that allows us to raise money with more ease, primarily because there’s a liquidity portion to being a public company. The trade off is that you’ve got to follow Sarbanes-Oxley, the regulatory compliance issues that you’ve got to deal with. It can cost about $100,000 in accounting and legal fees.” Imaging3 will be closing a private round of financing to raise about $1 million shortly and will then be moving on to negotiations with institutional investors. Imaging3 shares started trading publicly in December of 2005. Well-Timed Launch An analyst upgrade last week sent Ixia’s shares up 10 percent to around $13.00. Thomas Weisel Analyst Ajit Pai said that a period of over a year that saw its chief customers reducing research and development budgets was behind the company. Starting in the second half of 2006, he said, Ixia should see its sales start to increase, and he gave the company an “outperform” rating and raised his earnings estimate for 2007 to $0.55 per share. Earlier this month, Ixia launched newest application, IxNetwork, a networks performance test system, which it will market to companies like Cisco, Ixia’s biggest customer. Health Net Executive Departs Jeff Folick, who was executive vice president, regional health plans and specialty companies for Health Net Inc., left the company effective March 6. He joined the company overseeing health plans in Arizona and the Northeast. Most recently, he was executive sponsor for Health Net’s company-wide response to the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. As of January, Health Net had enrolled more than a quarter of a million people in its Medicare Part D plans. Folick’s duties will be distributed among other Health Net executives, particularly Sam Srivastava, who joined the company last year as the company’s new chief Medicare officer. Srivastava is currently responsible for Health Net’s Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug program, including operations and national sales. Health Net’s president and CEO, Jay Gellert, said the company is now the fifth largest Medicare contractor in the country. Hope for Semtech Semiconductor industry watchers said Semtech suffered last year because of an inferior product mix and difficulties getting hold of market share, but say that this year could be markedly better for the Camarillo company. Last week, the company reported a 10 percent increase in fourth quarter profit and revenues, and that new orders in the fourth quarter increased by 26 percent over the previous year. S & P; Equity Research upgraded the stock to “strong buy” from “hold” in February, saying that the industry looks fundamentally solid, and Semtech could make up ground from its market share loss last year in the next round of design cycles. Louis Gerhardy, an analyst for Morgan Stanley, said Semtech was his top choice for a small to mid-capitalization semiconductor stock after its latest earnings release. Rate Fears Hit Ryland Speculation last week was that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise short-term interest rates for the rest of the year, which proved to be trouble for publicly traded homebuilders. Stephen East, an analyst for Susquehanna Financial Group reported that the transition from rapid growth in the housing sector to sustainable growth is likely upon us, the effects of which will not likely be muted by the spring selling season. East cut his earnings expectations for Ryland, which has reported a slowing of sales so far this year, from $10.26 per share to $9.76 per share for 2006. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index, which is made up for 21 companies involved in the home construction business, has fallen about 14 percent after reaching a record price last July. Analysts at Raymond James reported in February that they expect Calabasas-based Ryland to show a 10 percent drop in sales at the end of its first quarter this year. Ryland, which is one of the largest home builders in the country, will be presenting at the UBS U.S. Home Building and Building Products Conference live on its Web site at www.ryland.com. The presentation will be held in London on Tuesday, March 14, at 10:35 a.m. GMT.
Imaging3 Filling Wide-Open Space in Medical Diagnostics