A Medical Device Daily

Aethon (Pittsburgh), a developer of mobile robotics for hospital supply chain logistics, said it has closed a $14 million financing round led by two new investors, Nexus Medical Partners and Radius Ventures. Aethon says it has grown significantly since its launch into the commercial market in 2005 with TUG robotic systems now providing supply and equipment delivery solutions for more than 100 hospitals nationwide.

"This is a very exciting time for our company," said Aldo Zini, Aethon president/CEO. "Aethon's progress has been a result of a strong management team and customers who are realizing the value of automating their supply chain logistics with Aethon's solutions. We are pleased to be able to attract new investment partners to our company and receive a significant valuation increase over our previous financing round in 2005."

This funding supports Aethon's goal of continued business growth, accelerated sales, and "intensified" R&D efforts on new products and product extensions, the company said.

"Since our initial commercial launch of the TUG robotic system, we have been experiencing rapid growth — doubling our revenue year over year. We are now positioning Aethon for a greater acceleration of growth," Zini said. "This additional capital will help us to build out our infrastructure and recruit additional top talent to support an expanding customer base across the country."

Aethon said it "strategically selected" the two new investing partners because of their excellent track records in healthcare investments. Nexus and Radius Ventures joined Aethlon's existing investors in the round, including Trident Capital, Pacific Venture Group, Salix Ventures, Draper Triangle Ventures and Ascension Health Ventures.

Aethon provides departmental and hospital-wide applications designed to automate the movement of goods (such as medications, supplies, meals, equipment, etc.), improve asset utilization, and ensure regulatory compliance. The company delivers its solutions through a autonomous mobile robot, the TUG, which it says reduces cost, enhances clinical productivity, improves workflow, and allows clinicians to focus more time on patient care.

In other financing activity, Aerolase (Tarrytown, New York), a maker of medical aesthetic lasers, said it has retained SMH Capital, a subsidiary of Sanders Morris Harris Group, as its financial advisor to explore financing alternatives to fund expansion into new markets.

The additional funding will be primarily directed toward expanding the Aerolase sales channel expansion into the market of about 300,000 U.S. primary care practitioners, the company said. This physician group is actively adding medical aesthetics to their practices to serve continuing strong demand for cosmetic-rejuvenation procedures, especially from affluent baby boomers.

Aerolase claims to be a leader in the miniaturization of high-powered medical lasers. This core technology has been commercialized in the fields of medical & aesthetic dermatology as well as capillary blood testing and diabetes management. The company's LightPod lasers cover most aesthetic laser procedures on all skin types as well as many medical treatments. Aerolase lasers are packaged in the LightPod system, which uses air, rather than water, to continuously cool the internal laser emitter. According to the company, this "breakthrough" resulted in a laser system that is portable and maintenance-free, also inherently less costly to manufacture and therefore more affordable.

Sanders Morris Harris Group is a financial services company that manages $11 billion in client assets.