Protecting patients from unnecessary exposure to radiation is the aim of start-up Augmenix. To advance its efforts and achieve profitability, the company has raised a $10.8 million Series D round. It also disclosed that an option, which Varian Medical Systems ($VAR) had gained to acquire the company under a 2011 financing, has expired.
Augmenix plans to use these funds to advance its pair of products. The financing should be sufficient to get SpaceOAR System, a minimally invasive absorbable hydrogel designed to push the rectum away from the radiation field in men undergoing prostate radiotherapy, to a U.S. launch next year.
The product has a CE Mark and the Augmenix hopes to get FDA approval for it in early 2015. In addition, the company has TraceIT Hydrogel, an absorbable tissue marker with CT, MRI and ultrasound visibility to improve radiation targeting of bladder tumors that is cleared by FDA and has a CE Mark.
The startup did not get the quick exit it may have hoped for under a 2011 option to acquire for Varian Medical Systems upon the achievement of undisclosed milestones. Augmenix did not say why Varian did not exercise the option but argued that an independent path would benefit all shareholders, including Varian.
"We value Varian's investment in Augmenix and their support to date. We feel the expiration of Varian's option will enable us to maximize the value of Augmenix for all its shareholders, including Varian. With the addition of the Series D financing, we are well resourced to chart an independent path forward," Augmenix chairman Amar Sawhney said in a statement.
Augmenix was founded in 2008 by investor Incept, which is also behind eye hydrogel and sealant company Ocular Therapeutix. Ocular is expected to have its IPO debut this week. New investor Excelestar Ventures led this Series D financing, along with undisclosed individual investors. Existing investors CHV II, Catalyst Health Ventures and Sparta Group also participated.
- read the release
- and here is a New York Times opinion piece on the dangers of medical radiation from early this year (sub. req.)