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Axial Biotech Meets Major Scientific Milestones; Receives $6 Million Tranche of Series B Financing

SALT LAKE CITY, March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Axial Biotech, Inc., a company revolutionizing spine care through the development of molecular diagnostics and motion preserving technologies, announced today that it has met several major scientific milestones in its development of the first genetic prognostic test for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) and has closed a $6 million tranche of its Series B financing. The Series B financing was led by Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, with participation by vSpring Capital and Ohio Biotech Group.

"These scientific milestones were extremely rigorous," said Kenneth Ward, M.D., the Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer of Axial Biotech. "They required our scientific team to analyze data from thousands of individuals and to confirm the identity of specific genetic markers that predict curve progression in early stage AIS with an extraordinary degree of accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity."

"I am very pleased about our team's accomplishments and for the continued support of our investors," said John M. Climaco, Axial Biotech's President and CEO. "For surgeons, patients, and their families, the significance of a genetic prognostic test for AIS, which can discriminate between progressive and non-progressive cases of the disease, is difficult to overestimate. It will positively impact the lives of thousands of children and should provide a springboard for the development of future scoliosis treatment options and may include the use of the company's motion preserving technologies."

"Axial Biotech's achievement of these very challenging milestones represents one of the largest steps in the company's efforts to bring important diagnostic tools to the orthopedic clinic," stated Dinesh Patel, Managing Director, vSpring Capital. "Our latest investment can be viewed as a clear vote of confidence, in the role that molecular diagnostics will play, in advancing the treatment of spinal disorders."

Axial Biotech is the first company to pursue DNA-based predictive tests for common spinal conditions. In addition to its groundbreaking work with AIS, Axial Biotech has also initiated clinical studies in the development of genetic tests for other common spinal diseases. Axial Biotech expects to launch its genetic prognostic test for AIS in September, 2008.

About Axial Biotech, Inc.

Axial Biotech, Inc. is a privately held, venture-backed company founded in 2002 by a group of internationally recognized spine surgeons and geneticists. The company is focused on developing and commercializing DNA-based pre-symptomatic and prognostic tests, as well as motion-preserving technologies, for common spinal disorders. The company's headquarters and laboratory are located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

About Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation.

Organized in 1973, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC) is the venture capital subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. JJDC makes private equity investments in venture funded health care companies. Portfolio companies include those in the fields of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, diagnostics, and consumer products.

About vSpring Capital

vSpring Capital ( is an early-stage venture capital firm with $350 million under management. With offices in Utah, New Mexico and Colorado, vSpring invests in information technology and life science companies that have the potential to transform their markets and create lasting value.

About Ohio Biotech Group

Ohio Biotech Group is a group of angel investors that include some of the leading spine surgeons in the United States.

SOURCE Axial Biotech, Inc.
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