CardioFocus Finds $30.6M for Atrial Fibrillation Treatment
[Updated---03/01/11, 8:30 am ET] Investors have been getting behind a Marlborough, MA-based firm that is working on a potentially better way to treat an irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation. CardioFocus has raised $30.6 million in private financing, according to a press release.
CardioFocus says that the round included new investors First Alliance & Capital Invest, Fletcher Spaght Ventures, and Manatuck Hill Parnters as well as all previous investors. The firm commercially released its system for laser ablation procedures in late-2010 in Europe and it plans to begin a pivotal study of the system in the first half of 2011 for U.S. marketing approval. [The top two paragraphs of this story and the headline were updated to include information from a press release that the company issued on February 28. The original story on February 25 cited an SEC filing that showed the firm had raised $13.6 million in a new round of equity financing.]
The company is tackling a hot area of the medical devices market. Atrial fibrilliation, which has been diagnosed in about 2.2 million Americans, causes irregular heartbeats that can interrupt normal blood flow, severely debilitate patients, and cause stroke. While drugs are often the first line of attack against the disease, advances in minimally-invasive endoscopic procedures like the one CardioFocus is developing are gaining steam.
Minneapolis-based device giant Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) shelled out $225 million to acquire a similar company called Ablation Frontiers of Carlsbad, CA in January 2009. Medtronic has not gained FDA approval for the system, which uses radiofrequency energy to ablate tissue. Yet the firm did garner U.S. marketing approval in December for a separate system that uses freezing technology or cryoablation to treat atrial fibrillation.
CardioFocus is developing an endoscopic ablation system that uses near infrared laser energy to essentially cook tissue involved in the irregular signaling that causes the disease, according to its website. The company, which has not yet gained U.S. marketing approval for its system, says on its website that it’s working on improving the accuracy and effectiveness of ablation.
The company has some recognizable VC investors such as Oxford Bioscience Partners and SV Life Sciences, both of which have offices in Boston. Its full roster of backers, according to its website, includes Aurora Funds, Accuitive Medical Ventures, HIG Ventures, KBL Healthcare Ventures, and Kestrel Venture Management. A press release shows that the company raised $21.5 million from investors in a Series C round back in April 2006.