COMMERCIALIZATION: Millions raised to fund commercial OCT development

NinePoint Medical, Inc. has raised $33 million—in a Series A round led by Third Rock Ventures and Prospect Venture Partners—to further develop its in-vivo OCT pathology platform and commercialize a range of medical devices.

NinePoint Medical, Inc. has raised $33 million—in a Series A round led by Third Rock Ventures and Prospect Venture Partners—to further develop its in-vivo OCT pathology platform and commercialize a range of medical devices. Though the technology promises broad applicability across a number of diagnostic and therapeutic categories, the company will focus initially on gastrointestinal applications. Its first goal is to develop a device that enables telepathology—that is, allows gastroenterologists and offsite pathologists to review immediately, in real time, advanced tissue images during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Thus, the technology will potentially provide physicians with immediately actionable information and, eventually, the ability to treat at the time of diagnosis.

NinePoint has established corporate headquarters in Cambridge, MA, where Charles Carignan, M.D., serves as president and CEO. Carignan has more than 20 years of experience in medical device development, having previously served as executive vice president and chief medical officer at Novasys Medical, Inc., chief medical officer at Boston Scientific, and more.

The company also plans to hire approximately 25 people before the end of 2011, and eventually intends to run a manufacturing facility at its Cambridge headquarters. NinePoint Medical is the first medical device company that Third Rock Ventures has seeded and launched,

Meanwhile, Avinger, Inc. (www.avinger.com), manufacturer of multi-functional catheters for treating peripheral artery disease (PAD), recently completed a $25 million Series B round of funding that is helping to complete development of catheters that integrate OCT-based, real-time visualization of arterial blockages—and to accelerate commercialization of guide wire support catheters. Among the items in Avinger's pipeline of devices that merge therapeutic and intravascular visualization into a single catheter is the Ocelot, which incorporates OCT to cross, or move through, the most challenging lesions in PAD patients. The Ocelot completed a successful first-in-man feasibility trial in Poland in August 2010.

In conjunction with the financing, the company appointed Mr. Kenneth Novack, former Chairman of Schnitzer Steel Industries (NASDQ: SCHN), as Chairman of Avinger's board of directors. Avinger is the eighth company founded by John B. Simpson, Ph.D., M.D., an interventional cardiologist and medical device entrepreneur, whose efforts have produced advanced therapies in multiple areas. His other companies have been sold to larger companies; two to Eli Lilly and Co.

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