AccuVein Wows Investors With Device That Prevents Extra Needle Sticks

8/16/11Follow @arleneweintraub

Virtually everyone who’s ever had a blood test has experienced this nightmare at least once: Prick, no vein, prick, still no vein, prick … those are all the extra needle sticks that happen when a nurse or other medical professional can’t find a vein to draw blood or insert an IV. The desire to prevent those painful jabs inspired a company, AccuVein, which started up in Cold Spring Harbor, NY, in 2007 and invented a tool that literally illuminates veins, so the caregivers who need to find them can do so on the first try.

On July 28, AccuVein raised $22 million in a Series B funding round that was led by MVM Life Sciences Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners. The company had previously raised an undisclosed amount from private individuals, says AccuVein’s founder and CEO, Ron Goldman. That was enough to build the product and get it into 750 hospitals in the U.S. The new capital, says Goldman, “will be used primarily to build out the sales team and acquire distribution partners overseas.”

AccuVein is based on a simple concept: Human blood absorbs infrared light, making blood vessels easily visible. “We detect with infrared light, then paint the arm with red light,” Goldman says. That causes the veins that would otherwise be concealed by skin to show up clearly on the surface. AccuVein’s product, called the AV300, is a handheld device that can be used in hospitals, or in mobile settings such as ambulances or military battlefields.

But Goldman wasn’t the first to hit upon the idea of illuminating veins—and that caused a dispute that put AccuVein’s future in question. In 2008, Memphis-based Luminetx filed a patent-infringement lawsuit … Next Page »

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