Arizona pharmaceutical firm Medicis is paying at least $150 million to buy Bothell-based LipoSonix, whose devices can reduce body fat using...

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Arizona pharmaceutical firm Medicis is paying at least $150 million to buy Bothell-based LipoSonix, whose devices can reduce body fat using noninvasive ultrasound technology.

The deal gives Medicis, which makes treatments for facial conditions like acne and fungal infections, the opportunity to expand “from the neck down,” said Chief Executive Jonah Shacknai in a conference call Monday.

LipoSonix recently launched its first commercial product in Europe and hopes to obtain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2011.

Medicis will pay LipoSonix shareholders up to an additional $150 million upon FDA approval and upon reaching certain commercial milestones, the company said.

LipoSonix founder Jens Quistgaard will stay on as president of the unit after the transaction closes early in the third quarter, Shacknai said. Medicis intends to continue “full operations” in Bothell, where some 40 people work on manufacturing the ultrasound equipment and conducting research and development.

Medicis, which is publicly traded, is based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

LipoSonix’s technology, which it describes as noninvasive body sculpting, gets rid of fat by aiming high-intensity ultrasound waves at targeted areas under the skin.

The company says these waves destroy fat cells without damaging the skin or internal organs. Once fat cells succumb to the attack, they are eaten up by the body’s immune system.

The system is designed to attack stubborn fat that cannot be reduced through diet or exercise. It could become an alternative to liposuction, America’s favorite comestic-surgery procedure, now a $2 billion-a-year market, Shacknai said.

“We project hundreds of millions of dollars in potential revenue in this category,” he said.

LipoSonix created quite a stir among the venture-capital sector in 2004, when it raised some $27 million.

Over its lifetime, the company has raised about $40 million from investors Accuitive Medical Ventures, The Carlyle Group, Delphi Ventures, Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, Pinnacle Ventures, Three Arch Partners, SV Life Sciences, and Versant Ventures, according to its Web site.

Ángel González: 206-515-5644 or agonzalez@seattletimes.com