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Madison Startup Asto CT Raises $1.1M for Large Animal Imaging Device

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Asto CT, a startup developing a computed tomography (CT) device for performing diagnostic scans of animals, has raised nearly $1.1 million in new funding, according to a document filed with federal securities regulators.

Madison, WI-based Asto CT has now raised more than $1.7 million from investors, all of which has been debt financing, SEC filings show.

Asto CT’s device, known as Equina, is designed to allow horses and other animals to remain standing while it peers inside their legs, heads, and necks in search of illness or injury. That means veterinarians don’t have to put horses under general anesthesia, which the animals sometimes do not come out of well, Asto CT co-founder and CEO David Ergun told Xconomy previously.

The startup launched in 2015 and began testing its scanners on live horses last year.

In June, Asto CT reached an agreement to sell one of its devices to the University of Wisconsin, Asto CT says on its website. UW is in the process of preparing a room for the installation, the company says. Ergun said previously that he expected one of Asto CT’s machines to sell for about $650,000. It’s not clear how much money UW agreed to pay for the particular device it has agreed to have Asto CT build and install.

Looked at from the side, Asto CT’s Equina scanner resembles a metal detector atop a platform, with a ramp running up from the ground to the platform. There are vertical tracks along the insides of the two columns that guide the positioning of a large donut-shaped part that’s initially placed parallel to—and flush with—the ground. When veterinarians need images of a horse’s front legs, its feet would be placed in the middle of the donut, and that part would then rise up a few feet, stopping before it hits the animal’s midsection.

The donut-shaped part can also rotate 90 degrees so that it’s perpendicular to the ground. When the part is rotated, an animal’s handlers can guide its head and neck through the hole in the donut, so that those body parts can be imaged.

According to company materials, Asto CT’s first mission is improving the diagnosis and treatment of head and neck diseases in horses, as well as conditions involving the bones that make up the foundation of a horse’s lower legs.

One manufacturer Asto CT has worked with to develop its machine is Photo Diagnostic Systems. The Boxboro, MA-based company has built products for organizations in several different sectors, including industrial-grade baggage scanners used in airports.

In late 2016, Asto CT said that Solon, OH-based Universal Medical Systems would be the exclusive distributor of Asto CT’s products in the U.S.