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the wealth of actual patient data from Karmanos. Real patients signed wavers and helped test and refine the system.
“That’s the beauty of having the technology spun out of a busy center like that,”Gross says. “You really have that bench-to-bedside development potential.”
Also impressive, says Gross, was the leadership team—particularly CEO Greenway, a former engineer at General Electric who went on to hold leadership positions at imaging companies InfiMed, Lodox Systems, and Hologic. Greenway got involved with Delphinus a couple of years ago, when researchers at Karmanos were ready for a nonscientist to take the technology to the next level. What sold Greenway was the unique technology combined with its potential to fill an unmet need in the market.
The next step, Greenway says, is to use this $8 million infusion to significantly refine the system’s design and then build 10 of them to send out to large medical research institutions. That in turn will help validate initial findings in order to win FDA approval.
Beringea co-led the Delphinus deal through its InvestMichigan! Growth Capital Fund, which provides expansion capital to promising Michigan businesses. Beringea co-manages $100 million of the $175 million fund, doing lead or co-lead investments in later-stage VC deals. Credit Suisse manages the other $75 million, doing primarily co-investments.
The investment was significant for Michigan because all of them are Michigan-based VC groups. Is this a sign that the VC climate is improving here?
“I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Gross says.