(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Port Covington’s Vixiar Medical raised $1.5 million in new funding as it works toward a submission to regulators for approval of its heart failure monitoring product to be marketed in the U.S., according to CEO Kevin Thibodeau.
The funding round was led by new investors in the medical device startup including Emerald Development Managers and MMG Opportunities. Existing investors including the Abell Foundation and TEDCO also participated.
The startup’s technology was invented at Johns Hopkins University by Dr. Harry Silber, a cardiologist. Called Indicor, the first product is a handheld device that detects increased filling pressure in the heart, an early warning of heart failure. Detecting it before other symptoms appear could help reduce hospitalizations.
The handheld device includes is noninvasive, meaning it does not require breaking the skin to use, and is designed to be accessible at hospitals, doctor’s offices or a patient’s home, Thibodeau said, adding that it’s also priced to be accessible in cost.
“We thought that it was important not only to deliver clinical value in this market but also economic value,” Thibodeau said.
Thibodeau said the company is currently conducting a clinical trial of the device across four health centers in the Northeast. It’s expected to wrap in the summer, and Vixiar will include that in a planned submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for regulatory approval.
“We believe Vixiar’s platform offers compelling advantages over the competition and addresses a huge unmet need in heart failure monitoring,” Neil Cohen, chairman of Emerald Development Managers, said in a statement. “We are also pleased that the technology was invented and extensively researched by faculty at Johns Hopkins.”
Thibodeau said the technology can also be applied to early warning signs of complications for dialysis patients.
The company’s five-member team works at the LaunchPort medical device accelerator within Port Covington’s City Garage, which launched in 2017 to provide space for early stage companies and manufacturing operations. It’s colocated there with manufacturer Engineered Medical Systems, which the company works with to assemble the device.
“We have been pleased with the Vixiar team’s progress and look forward to seeing them meet additional milestones as a Baltimore City-headquartered medical device company,” said Eileen O’Rourke, CFO at the Abell Foundation.
Thibodeau, who was previously an executive with Maryland medical device company Vapotherm, said he sees growth in the medical device space in the city in recent years.
“Baltimore is actively every year getting a lot better for medical devices,” he said. “There’s lots more innovation – things like intellectual property and more availability of talent as companies are successful.”-30-
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