As a medtech firm, getting venture capitalists to invest in a seed stage of financing is akin to trying to get water out of stone.
However, exceptions prove the rule, and so here are three companies that managed the impossible in the first quarter of 2014 in order of most money raised. The information comes from the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), based on data provided by Thomson Reuters.
Drum roll please…
Despite their name, scPharmaceuticals is not really a typical pharma company interesting in developing novel formulations to treat diseases via oral, injectable or intravenous means. Rather this Lexington, Massachusetts-based company has a novel drug delivery device that allows certain drugs to be delivered subcutaneously.
It raised $16 million in March in a round co-led by 5AM Ventures and Lundbeckfond Ventures.
The money will help to further develop two drugs and the associated drug delivery components. The first drug is meant to treat heart failure by which the company's dime-sized medical grade micropump will deliver a diuretic directly under the skin.
Traditionally furosemide is delivered either in oral form in heart failure patients to prevent fluid build-up or in the emergency room in intravenous form, according to scPharmaceuticals website.
A second product is meant to create a new drug-device combination product of a cephalosporin antibiotic to counter bacterial infections. Today the drug can be delivered only through intramuscular and intravenous administration, the website notes.
The products have piqued the interest of investors who are following the overall trend in healthcare to look for cost-effective alternatives to current standards of care.
““scPharmaceuticals has the potential to establish a new pharmaceutical and care paradigm, where common and widely used parenteral drugs can be conveniently self-administered subcutaneously,” said Dr. Kush Parmar, a Partner at 5AM Ventures and a Director of scPharmaceuticals, in a statement at the time of the funding. “What most excites us is the potential to build a portfolio of products that help shift care to more convenient and cost-effective settings.”
Very little information seems to be available on Element Science. The company is based in San Francisco and raised $12.5 million, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which also shows the company is actually looking for a total of $40 million.
The MoneyTree Report says investors in the firm include Google Ventures, Prospect Venture Partners and Third Rock Ventures. It is developing a device to treat sudden cardiac arrest and the company was previously called Revive Defibrillation Systems.
It is founded and run by Uday Kumar, cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.
Similar to Element Science, BioTrace Medical appears to be a firm in stealth mode.
A regulatory filing shows the company is based in San Mateo and has raised $3.5 million. Investors in the seed round were Okapi Venture Capital and an undisclosed firm. An article points to Xandex Investments and the fact that BioTrace Medical is developing a temporary cardiac pacing device which can treat reversible symptomatic bradycardia (reduced heart rate).
The company is run by Laura Dietch, president and CEO, an angel investor and medical devices consultant who was formerly Vice President of Global Marketing for Medtronic’s vascular business.
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