Medical Device Daily Contributing Writer and Staff Reports

ZICHRON YA’AKOV, Israel — Several Israeli medical-technology firms have come back from recent visits to the fundraising well bearing buckets full of money.

InterCure (Lod, Israel), manufacturer of the RESPeRATE hypertension treatment device — which the company says is clinically proven in 10 peer-reviewed studies to significantly lower blood pressure — completed its initial public offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, raising $16 million (NIS 67.4 million) through the sale of 3 million common shares and convertible bonds. Investors also received options that will provide the company with an additional $4 million once exercised.

InterCure’s device, which guides breathing as a method for lowering blood pressure, has FDA 510(k) clearance, and Erez Gavish, president/CEO of the company, said, “Our IPO comes during a significant growth period, with sales nearly doubling to $2.6 million from last year.”

He added, “The capital raised through the IPO will support InterCure’s continued penetration into the retail pharmacy channel in the U.S. and internationally, and will also allow us to accelerate our research and development of new products.”

Some $2 million (NIS 10 million) of the IPO proceeds will repay credit from Mizrahi Tefahot Bank.

Other firms succeeding in recent fundraising efforts included:

• Modules for Novel Diagnostics (MND; Emek Hefer, Israel), which is creating a stand-alone and “immediate” device kit for virus detection based on what it calls a “previously unexplored approach using simple and unequivocal protein recognition techniques,” closed its first financing round, raising $4.7 million from a group of private Swiss investors led by the Dreyfus and Marilus families.

Dorit Arad founded MND in 2004 in the Yozmot-Granot Initiative Center technological incubator after she reclaimed her intellectual property from Exogenics when that company closed its doors.

“The funds should suffice to bring our diagnostic product into market and forge a few other product development collaborations,” Arad told Medical Device Daily .

She added: “The MND kit will rapidly identify specific viruses, without any additional laboratory testing, so it is ideal for immediate identification in airports and other public places. The approach comes from the drug design area, and unique protein detection that can be done anywhere simply, cheaply and within several minutes of sampling, in contrast with the several days of laboratory testing that is required for virus identification today. This is possible because the MND identification does not use immunogenic methods, nor antibody testing nor genetic technologies, but a new sensitive bio-informatics-based method that shows the presence of viral-specific enzymes.”

Arad noted that NLC Pharma (Dallas), a sister company, is creating the drug development design for other viruses, including Avian flu and CMD.

The investors also are supporting another Yozmot incubator company, Sonenco. Abraham Marilus was quoted in the local press, Globes, that his family is eyeing additional further investment opportunities in medical devices, life sciences and alternative energy companies in Israel.

• Navotek Medical (Yokneam, Israel) closed its first financing round of $5 million. The round was led by Wanaka Capital Partners Mid-Tech Opportunity Fund, with $3 million, joined by medical device dedicated fund Bridge Investment Fund and a private investor.

Navotek was founded and is chaired by serial entrepreneur Shimon Eckhouse, chairman of Syneron Medical (Yokneam), to develop a system to precisely locate tumors, and thus to focus radiotherapy and targeted chemotherapy with greater accuracy, fewer side effects and more exact ablation to minimize loss of surrounding healthy tissue. Anticipated are time and cost savings in radiation treatment.

Navotek said that its system will be installed in hospitals in Israel and abroad in the coming months. The company’s CEO is Giora Kornblau, a former Israel Air Force pilot and a graduate of the Talpiot project.

Wanaka Managing Partner Ronen Melnick said, “We’re improving on an existing process, not inventing one, so the regulatory approval process — via a 510(k) — should be fairly brief and straightforward.”

• MazorSurgical (Caesaria, Israel) raised about $8 million out of the planned $10 million at a company valuation of $31 million. In its next round, the firm will raise $7.5 million in convertible bonds.

The lead underwriters for the IPO were Clal Finance Underwriting, Leader Underwriters (1993) and Meitav Underwriting.

Mazor’s flagship product, the SpineAssist surgical platform, a robotic imaging tool to guide orthopedic surgeons to the exact location in the spine for the surgical procedure, already has been installed at 12 medical centers worldwide.

Safety study positive for cervical collar

Hadasit, the technology transfer company of Hadassah University Hospital (Jerusalem), and Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd., the technology transfer company of Tel Aviv University, said that the Lubo Cervical Collar, designed for use in trauma situations, has demonstrated positive results in a two-part Phase I safety study.

The Institutional Review Board- (IRB-) approved study was registered with the National Institute of Health and operated under the guidelines of both the NIH and the Israeli Ministry of Health.

“The LuboCollar has the ability to save the lives of trauma patients in pre-hospital and emergency treatments,” said Dr. Jacob Assaf, head of the department of emergency medicine at Hadassah University Hospital. “I demonstrated the LuboCollar to some ER colleagues during a recent trip to the U.S. The feedback was positive regarding the design of the device and its potential,”

Asssaf says that existing cervical collars ensure cervical spine stabilization but do not protect the airway of the patient, which must be opened by invasive means in many situations.

“LuboCollar is designed to protect the neck by restricting the movement of the head relative to the rest of the body and to maintain an open airway in a non-invasive, simple and quick-to-operate way. It does so by using a ‘jaw thrust-like’ knob to maneuver the mandibles, pushing them forward in the direction of the chin,” said Dr. Omri Lubovsky, developer of the LuboCollar and a physician in the department of orthopedic surgery at Hadassah University Hospital.

Hadasit and Ramot also said that an IRB-approved efficacy study of the LuboCollar on anesthetized patients is now under way at Hadassah Hospital. The study will begin with 10 patients and ultimately recruit a total of 20.