SetPoint Medical nabs $30M for bioelectronics rheumatoid arthritis trial

SetPoint Medical's implantable neuromodulator stimulates the vagus nerve eased rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in a first-in-human trial. Now, with a fresh infusion of cash, the company will embark on a phase 2 trial.

SetPoint Medical rounded up $30 million in its series D round, which will drive the clinical development of its bioelectronic treatments for chronic, inflammatory illnesses and bankroll a phase 2 trial of a bioelelectronic device in rheumatoid arthritis.

Existing investors, including New Enterprise Associates, GlaxoSmithKline, Boston Scientific and Medtronic, participated in the financing. Valencia, California-based SetPoint previously raised $15 million in series C funding.

Bioelectronic therapies, based on implantable devices that stimulate the body to heal itself from disease, are increasingly being looked to as alternative treatments for inflammatory diseases, which often have limited treatment options.

SetPoint’s bioelectronic platform is designed to stimulate the body’s natural Inflammatory Reflex and trigger an anti-inflammatory effect, the company says. Bioelectronics could be used to elicit biochemical changes in the body that are typically brought about by drugs.

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SetPoint has programs in Crohn’s disease—a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease that has no cure—and rheumatoid arthritis, which is commonly treated with physiotherapy and pharmaceuticals.

Last year, SetPoint reported positive results in a first-in-human trial showing its implantable neuromodulation device alleviated symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in patients who had previously failed with multiple therapies. Implanted on the vagus nerve, the device delivers electrical stimulation according to a set schedule. The 17-patient study also showed that stimulating the vagus nerve tamped down on TNF, a cytokine involved in inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis.

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“Rheumatoid arthritis patients and the physicians who treat them desperately need new treatment options for dealing with this debilitating disease,” said David Chernoff, MD, Chief Medical Officer of SetPoint Medical. “Current biologic treatments for RA do not work for all patients, are very expensive and can have severe side effects. With more than $30 billion spent annually on biologic agents to treat inflammatory diseases, the time is right for a new approach, and bioelectronic medicine shows promise as an alternative to conventional therapies.”