Avinger raises $25 million for catheter development and commercialization

Avinger, Inc., medical device manufacturer of innovative, multi-functional catheters for treating peripheral artery disease (PAD), recently completed a $25 million Series B round of funding from a syndicate of highly successful entrepreneurs and executives. The round will be used to accelerate the commercialization of Avinger's Wildcat™ and Kittycat™ guide wire support catheters and complete development of the company's therapeutic catheters which integrate real-time visualization of arterial blockages based on optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging technology.

“I am honored to serve as Avinger's Chairman”

In conjunction with the financing, Mr. Kenneth Novack, former Chairman of Schnitzer Steel Industries (NASDQ: SCHN), has been appointed as Chairman of Avinger's board of directors. "I am honored to serve as Avinger's Chairman," said Mr. Novack. "Dr. Simpson and his team have an unwavering commitment to helping patients with PAD, and our shareholders are excited to assist in Avinger's growth in the coming years."

It is estimated that PAD currently affects between eight and 12 million adults—and is the leading cause of amputation in patients over 50. Hospitalization costs of PAD alone are estimated to exceed $21 billion annually. Currently there are over 150,000 amputations per year due to PAD and major causes include smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, inactivity, and poor diet.

Avinger founder and CEO Dr. John B. Simpson commented, "I am extremely happy with the commercial progress of our Wildcat and Kittycat devices. We've seen remarkable patient outcomes and helped prevent many scheduled amputations. We have an amazing group of visionaries as investors, and this financing will help us accelerate everything we are doing."

Currently, Avinger is completing enrollment for its CONNECT study in which the company is seeking a more specific indication from the Food and Drug Administration for their Wildcat device in chronic total occlusions. Avinger expects to finish enrollment in Q1 2011.

Avinger's robust development pipeline is focused on delivering devices that merge therapeutic and intravascular visualization into a single catheter. The Ocelot™ catheter, which completed a successful first-in-man feasibility trial in Poland in August of 2010, incorporates OCT to cross, or move through, the most challenging lesions in PAD patients. The Wolverine™, an image-guided atherectomy catheter, is designed to improve the speed and accuracy of plaque removal, while providing actionable in-vivo histology.

The financing closed in November 2010. Boston-based investment bank Stonebridge Associates, acted as financial advisor in the fundraising efforts.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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