Canon USA pumps $40M into Mass.-based biotech

Bloody good: Melville mainstay Canon USA has bought into a Massachusetts maker of rapid diagnostic tools.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Melville-based imaging giant Canon USA has reaffirmed its commitment to the healthcare sector, to the tune of $40 million.

That’s how much the global imaging-solutions provider has dropped on T2 Biosystems, a Massachusetts firm specializing in innovative diagnostics. Canon USA announced Thursday that is has purchased enough stock – at $6.56 per share – to take roughly 20 percent ownership of T2 Biosystems.

Joe Adachi: Just what Canon USA always wanted.

Joe Adachi: Just what Canon USA always wanted.

Maryland-based Canon U.S. Life Sciences Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon USA, has been working with the Massachusetts manufacturer since February 2015 on the development of a “diagnostic panel” for the rapid detection of Lyme disease, and the $40 million equity investment “recognize(s) that both T2 Biosystems and Canon USA are aligned in working towards the same goal,” according to Canon USA Chairman and CEO Joe Adachi.

“We are pleased to strengthen our relationship and look forward to bringing future innovative diagnostic products to market,” Adachi said in a statement.

As part of the investment, Canon USA Executive Vice President and COO Seymour Liebman, who also serves as the Melville company’s general counsel, will join the T2 Biosystems Board of Directors.

T2 Biosystems CEO John McDonough said Liebman’s contributions, and the $40 million capital infusion, were major scores for his firm, an emerging vitro-diagnostics leader boasting two FDA-approved sepsis detectors and a range of additional products in development.

“The strong backing and commitment we have received from Canon will help us continue to strengthen our business and accelerate our efforts to bring new products to market,” McDonough said. “Importantly, this financing puts us in a solid position to continue to grow the business, including furthering our launch of the T2Bacteria Panel into the market in 2017.”

Canon USA, itself a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Canon, has invested in diagnostics research several times over the years. In 2015, the company launched Melville-based Canon BioMedical Inc., a spinoff focused on empowering biomedical research and healthcare through the use of existing and emerging Canon technologies and strategic partnerships.

Launched in 2006, T2 Biosystems is leveraging its proprietary T2 Magnetic Resonance platform, or T2MR, to develop a broad set of applications aimed at lowering mortality rates, improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs by helping medical professionals make critical treatment decisions faster.

T2MR enables fast and sensitive detection of pathogens, biomarkers and other abnormalities in blood and other patient samples, saving considerable time over competing detectors.

Still in the company’s pipeline is the T2Bacteria Panel, a cutting-edge detector designed to spot sepsis-indicating bacterial pathogens often resistant to first-line antibiotics. When completed, the panel will enable physicians to rapidly administer targeted therapy to patients as necessary.

That kind of next-level innovation is exactly why multinational tech giant Canon – which reported $31 billion in 2015 global revenues and is best known for its consumer cameras and industrial imaging solutions – got into the medical business, according to Adachi.

“Investments in companies like T2 is another example of Canon’s commitment to healthcare,” the Canon USA chairman said.