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Varian Medical Systems Makes Equity Investment and Obtains Option to Purchase Augmenix
Date:5/12/2011

PALO ALTO, Calif. and WALTHAM, Mass., May 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE: VAR), the world's leading supplier of medical technology for treating cancer with radiotherapy, and privately-held Augmenix, Inc. today announced that they have reached an agreement under which Varian will make a $15 million minority equity investment in Augmenix, a company that is developing hydrogel products to improve outcomes in radiation oncology.  The agreement also provides Varian with the exclusive option to acquire the rest of Augmenix provided certain agreed-upon milestones have been met.

Augmenix' lead product, SpaceOAR™ System, is designed to be used in men scheduled to undergo radiotherapy for prostate cancer.  The product is injected between the prostate and rectum under ultrasound guidance.  Once injected, the liquid hydrogel solidifies within seconds to move the rectum away from the prostate, helping to reduce the amount of radiation that goes to the rectum during therapy.  After treatment, the hydrogel dissolves and is absorbed by the body.

SpaceOAR System is commercially approved for sale by Augmenix in select European countries and Australia.  In the United States, SpaceOAR is under clinical investigation and will require the submission of a premarket approval application, or PMA, and approval by the Food and Drug Administration before being commercialized.

The objective, with radiotherapy, is to deliver as much dose as possible to a tumor while minimizing exposure of surrounding healthy tissues.  During prostate radiotherapy, avoiding the rectum can be a special challenge because the rectal wall borders the prostate gland.  While studies have shown that advanced forms of conformal radiotherapy such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) reduce the amount of dose received by the rectum, (1,2)  
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SOURCE Varian Medical Systems
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