SonoSite enters preclinical market with $71M Visualsonics purchase

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Adult digital artery imaged with a conventional high frequency linear transducer (200 micron resolution).
Image Source: SonoSite

SonoSite, a developer of point-of-care ultrasound systems, today signed an agreement to acquire privately held Visualsonics, a Toronto-based company focused on high-frequency micro-ultrasound technology, in a transaction approximately valued at $71 million net of cash and debt.

Founded in 1999 by Stuart Foster, PhD, at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, Visualsonics’ micro-ultrasound technology uses five times the center frequency range currently used in conventional ultrasound systems (40MHz versus 8MHz), allowing the visualization of superficial anatomy on small living animals to discern features 40 microns (versus conventional ultrasound, which visualize 200 microns), SonoSite said.

The Bothell, Wash.-based SonoSite said it is seeking a presence in the preclinical market with this acquisition.

Via academic partnerships, SonoSite said that researchers at Cambridge Research Institute in England, Stanford University in Calif., Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Chinese University of Hong Kong and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles have employed Visualsonics’ technology to perform studies in cardiovascular health, cancer, developmental growth and regenerative medicine by studying hemodynamics and the effects of drug therapies on genetically engineered mice that are bred to have the same physiological disposition as a human.

SonoSite expects the acquisition to close in the next 30 days, and following closing, Visualsonics will become its wholly owned subsidiary.

According to SonoSite, the purchase price of the acquisition will be paid from available cash on hand, and it expects to pay off Visualsonics’ debt of $8 million following the closing.