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SonoSite Buys VisualSonics For $71M

Toronto-based medical imaging technology company?is being taken over by SonoSite in a $71-million deal that includes assumption of $8 million of VisualSonics debt.

BOTHELL, Wash. (CP) -- Toronto-based medical imaging technology company VisualSonics is being taken over by SonoSite Inc., in a $71-million deal that includes assumption of $8 million of VisualSonics debt, the U.S. company said Tuesday.

SonoSite, headquartered in Bothell, Washington state, expects the acquisition to close in the next 30 days, after which VisualSonics will become a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The Canadian company's manufacturing facility and its 100 employees will continue to work in Toronto, the companies said.

Privately held VisualSonics, founded in 2002 with a grant from the Terry Fox Foundation and backing from venture capital firm Hargan ventures, is a world leader in extreme high resolution ultrasound imaging systems that currently serve the rapidly growing pre-clinical research market.

"VisualSonics' flagship product, The Vevo Series, provides scientific professionals with a simple method for efficiently viewing extremely small physiological structures and for imaging living tissue and blood flow with near-microscopic resolution," SonoSite said in a news release.

Its micro-imaging technology is being used at more than 700 research labs at hospitals, universities, pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies in virtually every country around the world, added SonoSite, a specialist in bedside and point-of-care ultrasound.

It is also being used at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children in tumour imaging, at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto to measure the arterial wall and determine a patient's risk of cardiovascular disease. Last week, Health Canada approved it for research into male infertility at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

"VisualSonics has developed potentially game changing ultrasound technology that breaks conventional barriers for visualizing superficial soft tissue," said SonoSite president and CEO Kevin Goodwin.

"Our intention is to integrate VisualSonics' micro-ultrasound technology with SonoSite's miniaturization competency and user design to deliver ultra high-frequency micro-ultrasound into clinical medicine."

VisualSonics president and CEO Anil Amlani said his company was "excited to join forces with SonoSite, given their reputation and successful track record in market and product development."

"In working together, we look forward to creating imaging products that will benefit researchers, patients and health-care professionals worldwide," Amlani said.