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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | HEARD ON THE BEAT / BIOTECH

Entrepreneur Launches Fund for Medical-Device Firms

February 08, 2001|MARC BALLON | Marc Ballon covers the biomedical and biotechnology industries for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-7439 and at marc.ballon@latimes.com

At a time when many investors in start-up companies are retrenching, veteran entrepreneur Michael R. Henson has created an Orange County-based incubator to help launch new medical device businesses.

Henson, co-founder of 11 medical technology and pharmaceutical companies, including Radiance Medical Systems Inc. in Irvine, said he has rounded up $22 million for the MedFocus Fund from several investors, including Japan Asia Investment Co. Ltd, one of Japan's largest venture capital firms. Many of the fledgling businesses will be housed in 3,000-square-foot quarters in Irvine, where they will receive guidance in assembling management teams.

Henson said medical devices that improve patient care while reducing costs are always in demand.

The fund expects to invest $50,000 to $500,000 in each start-up in exchange for ownership stakes of up to 30%, Henson said. The fund plans to make its first investment by the end of March, he said.

Ralph C. Sabin, managing director of Pacific Venture Group, an Irvine venture capital fund focused on health care, said Henson's past business successes bode well for the fund.

"Henson knows how to take innovative concepts and make them market ready," Sabin said. "He's no mad scientist."

The fund's e-mail address: info@medfocusfund.net.

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