In the wake of similar business moves from competitors, Medicis on Monday announced it will merge with LipoSonix. Medicis will pay $150 million to acquire the small (40 employees) maker of ultrasound-based body cotouring and lipo technology.

"Medicis will pay stockholders upon closing $150 million in cash for all of the outstanding shares of LipoSonix. Medicis will fund the transaction from its existing cash balances. In addition, Medicis will pay LipoSonix stockholders certain milestone payments up to an additional $150 million upon FDA approval of the LipoSonix technology and if various commercial milestones are achieved on a worldwide basis," claimed a press release issued by both firms.

The move is risky because although LipoSonix's first product was recently released in Europe, its technology has not been approved for use in the US. In its announcement, however, Medicis said it anticipates the tech will win FDA approval no later than 2011. This time frame may make Medicis' ploy a bit behind the pace set by other M&A-happy firms, such as Allergan and Mentor. 

The deal also means that LipoSonix investors — which includes heavy hitters such as Versant Ventures, Shroder Ventures Life Sciences, and Accuitive Medical Ventures — will be able to cash out as a result of the merger.

LipoSonix' technology, called SonoSculpt, uses high-intensity ultrasound waves, beamed a little more than an inch below the skin surface, that "melts" fatty tissues without, as per the companies, patient pain, scars, anesthesia, or a long recovery time.