A Medical Device Daily

Surgical device start-up Aragon Surgical (Palo Alto, California) reported that it has closed on a private equity financing of $25 million.

Bay City Capital led the Series B financing, which also included Integral Capital Partners and current investors Delphi Ventures and ONSET Ventures.

“We are very excited to have Bay City Capital and Integral Capital Partners join the Aragon Surgical team,” said Peter Edelstein, MD, a surgeon who is president/CEO of Aragon. “Along with our current top-tier investors, our new investors bring tremendous experience at a critical time in our company’s history, with the recent launch of our first product and with several additional products in development.”

Aragon says it is developing a variety of surgical instruments intended to reduce operative time and improve patient safety.

In September the company introduced LapCap, a pneumoperitoneum creation assist device. Designed to assist surgeons during laparoscopic procedures, Aragon said the device uses simple suction to elevate the abdominal wall up and away from the intestines and blood vessels, creating a “safe space” within the peritoneal cavity into which the Veress needle is fully advanced (Medical Device Daily, Sept. 12, 2007).

The company reported winning FDA clearance for the LapCap in July (MDD, July 11, 2007).

Aragon acquired the LapCap in March when it bought VeriSure (Palo Alto) (MDD, March 14, 2007).

“Aragon Surgical is developing a platform of surgical products which offer clear and unique value propositions to surgeons, patients, and operating facilities. We were impressed by the company’s demonstrated pace and success in moving forward during the little more than two years since Aragon Surgical was founded,” said Nick Pliam, who led Bay City Capital’s investment.

Bay City Capital was established in 1997 for the purpose of managing investment funds in the life sciences industry. It has managed six venture funds representing $1.5 billion in committed capital invested in more than 70 companies (with a new $500 million fund). Five of these funds are general life sciences funds, and one is a nutrition and agribusiness sector fund.

Benvenue Medical (Mountain View, California), a developer of minimally invasive solutions for spine repair, reported closing a $15 million Series B financing. The round included lead investor Three Arch Partners and returning investors Versant Ventures and De Novo Ventures.

“This financing will allow us to expand our product development programs, obtain additional regulatory approvals, and gain clinical experience with our minimally invasive spinal products,” said Laurent Schaller, president/CEO of Benvenue.

Benvenue has developed a flexible spinal implant technology with two primary minimally invasive applications: the treatment of vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) due to osteoporosis, trauma, and cancer, and the treatment of degenerative disc disease.

Bill Harrington of Three Arch Partners joins the Benvenue board of directors.

“Initial feedback from clinicians suggests that the Benvenue Medical VCF repair system will deliver significant benefits to patients and physicians,” Harrington said. “The company’s platform technology also has the potential to transform spinal fusion by expanding adoption of minimally invasive techniques. We look forward to working with company management to develop this exciting technology and bring it to market.”

In other financing news:

• Cardica (Redwood City, California) said it has received nearly $2 million in milestone payments from Cook Medical (Bloomington, Indiana).

Cardica said Cook made its fourth and final payment of $500,000 for the delivery of the Cook Vascular Closure Device (CVCD), an automated system designed to close access openings in femoral arteries after interventional vascular procedures.

Cook also paid Cardica $1.3 million for the completion of the first phase of design and development of a specialized device designed to close patent foramen ovales, holes in the heart that do not close, supposedly as the result of genetic defects.

Cardica also reported receiving a payment of $180,000 from Cook for the initial purchase of parts to build a specific number of these vascular closure devices for commercial use.

The company said it has expanded its collaboration with Cook to include a second product in the vascular closure device product line. The company said it could receive up to $1.4 million in development milestones beyond the $1.3 million.

With both products, Cardica will receive royalties on any future worldwide sales by Cook, and Cook has exclusive worldwide commercialization and marketing rights.

• Inclinix (Wilmington, North Carolina), an enrollment contract research organization (CRO) and provider of clinical trial recruitment solutions, said it has closed $10 million in expansion funding from Frontier Capital.

Inclinix said it would use the investment to fund further enhancement of its enrollment processes and technologies. It said it also will add sales marketing, and service delivery resources and expand its facilities.

Inclinix accelerates the clinical trials of new drugs by delivering doctors and patients for enrollment.

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