Innovative Pulmonary Solutions Snags $3M to Treat Lung Diseases

10/1/10Follow @xconomy

Bellevue, WA-based Innovative Pulmonary Solutions has raised $3 million to pursue its vision of a new way of helping people with common lung disorders to breathe better.

The company raised $3 million in new equity out of a financing round that could be worth as much as $8 million, according to a regulatory filing. The cash came from Versant Ventures and Split Rock Partners, according to a recent report from VentureWire.

Innovative Pulmonary Solutions (IPS) is led by CEO Steven Dimmer, the former vice president of R&D at one of the established players in Seattle’s medical device scene—Calypso Medical Technologies. The new company is developing a method for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease without leaving any implant behind in the patients’ lung tissue. Dimmer discussed the technology back in April at the inaugural meeting of Wings, the Northwest’s new angel investing network for medical device companies.

If IPS truly has hit upon a practical idea for this condition, it will be able to tap into a big market. An estimated 16 million people in the U.S. (mostly smokers) have what is called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, an umbrella term for emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S., killing 100,000 people a year, according to the National Emphysema Foundation. Emphysema alone is estimated to cost the U.S. health system an estimated $5 billion to $9 billion a year.

A number of medical device companies have sought to create minimally invasive treatment strategies against COPD. Redmond, WA-based Spiration, recently purchased by Olympus, has developed an implantable valve that’s supposed to block air from getting into diseased parts of the lung, where the air can get trapped. Seattle-based Uptake Medical, which raised $17.5 million in venture capital in July, has been working on a different technique in which it uses a catheter to deliver steam water vapor that scars and seals shut airways that lead to the bad part of the lung.

IPS is remaining pretty stealthy about its technology, so there’s no way for me to say how this might be different from what Uptake and Spiration are doing, or what advantage it might offer. But like you’d expect from any entrepreneur who just got funded, Dimmer sounds pretty excited.

“Needless to say, we are delighted to close Series A with such high quality investors. We plan on remaining in stealth mode for the immediate future,” Dimmer says.

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