Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center has been busy bulking up and expanding its reach.

The downtown L.A. community health care center just made its first foray into the San Fernando Valley, purchasing five practices at three locations. It also tripled the size of its Lynwood OB-GYN practice, transforming it into a full-time, full-service clinic.

“There is a significant unmet need,” said Eisner Chief Executive Herb Schultz of the organization’s mission to help underserved low- and moderate-income Angelenos.

The acquisition of the Maternity Clinic and Mother’s Clinic, operated by Dr. Kamrooz Houman, along with the Salimpour Pediatric Medical Group, includes a mix of pediatrics and OB-GYN practices in Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys and Panorama City treating about 15,000 patients from underserved populations. The total value of the deals was not disclosed.

“Our patients now have access to social workers, mental health, nutritionists, a lot of services a private practice can’t afford to provide,” said Dr. Pejman Salimpour, whose father, Dr. Ralph Salimpour, started the practice 35 years ago and will continue to run them along with Houman.

Eisner, founded in 1920 as a baby hospital, took its current name in 2002 after a $2.5 million gift from the Eisner Foundation. It receives a mix of federal, state and local funding, sliding-scale patient fees, insurance payments and private fundraising for an annual budget of about $27 million. It’ll also get an additional base amount from the government each year once the practice acquisitions get federal and state approval.

Schultz said deals of this type are fairly new for federally qualified health centers such as Eisner.

Eisner’s only other acquisition, the Lynwood OB-GYN practice, was used as an anchor to build out the 7,500-square-foot comprehensive center that opened a few weeks ago.

Curative Crustaceans

If a nuclear bomb were to hit Los Angeles, and you weren’t incinerated in the immediate blast zone, it would be comforting to know there were drugs that could keep your soft tissue from falling apart.

Claremont biopharmaceutical firm Synedgen Inc. has been working on just that, radiation mitigation in digestive tract tissues, with funding from the Army and National Institutes of Health.

“God forbid we have an accident or dirty bomb, the U.S. is trying to develop medical countermeasures to treat the population,” said Synedgen co-founder, President and Chief Operating Officer Shenda Baker, a chemistry professor at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont. “I’m running home with a big bag of it if anything ever happens.”

Though that’s something to be stockpiled by the government and not a consumer product, the research helped Synedgen realize there were potential applications for cancer patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy. And the firm is now working on such a treatment.

It recently closed a $3.5 million second round of funding from angel investors to move into clinical trials for pulmonary drugs the firm has been developing. Synedgen had previously raised $4 million in 2013 to help with overhead and other work on products not covered by funding from the Army, NIH or Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The firm was forged through a 2009 merger of research and development-focused BioStar West Inc. of Claremont and biotech firm Hawaii Chitopure Inc. The latter had worked on finding and processing a clean U.S.-based source of a molecule found in shrimp shells that has a variety of medical applications, such as special wound dressings used by the armed forces.

Baker said Synedgen plans on licensing its products to a large pharmaceutical firm or being acquired, rather than distributing and marketing treatments itself. She sees it as a better way to ensure a reasonable time frame in which investors can see a return.

Synedgen owns its intellectual property, which Baker said makes investors happy.

“If we sell to somebody, we don’t have to negotiate a license with the people who we bought it from,” Baker said. “We own all of this and that gives us the ability to do what we want with it.”

Checkups

MD Insider Inc., provider of a health care platform that pairs patients with doctors, has closed a $9.5 million first round of funding and also expanded its executive suite. The Santa Monica firm promoted Kingshuk Chatterjee from chief technology officer to chief data officer, hired Eric Wilson as chief technology officer and added Randy Womack to its board. … Monrovia biopharmaceutical company Xencor Inc. has hired Mark Lotz as vice president of regulatory affairs and Dr. Wayne Saville as vice president of clinical oncology. … Huntington Medical Research Institutes, a Pasadena biomedical research organization, has promoted Dr. Marie Csete from chief scientific officer to president and chief scientist. … Century City firm Ritter Pharmaceuticals Inc. has appointed Gerald T. Proehl to its board.

Staff reporter Marni Usheroff can be reached at musheroff@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 229.

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