Essex Woodlands backs San Diego dermal filler startup with $25M

Martin Sutter

Healthcare growth investor Essex Woodlands has backed Suneva Medical with a new $25 million financing aimed at expanding its marketing of the only FDA-approved dermal filler that's specifically indicated for smile lines or facial acne scars.

In January 2015, Suneva's Bellafill was approved by the agency to treat acne scars, adding to the initial nasolabial fold indication that dates back to 2006. The San Diego, CA startup was founded in April 2009 and brought in the already approved product.

"Suneva's differentiated products are uniquely situated to take advantage of the tailwinds in the aesthetics market," said Martin Sutter, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Essex Woodlands, in a statement.

The firm focuses on investing in biopharma, medical device, healthcare services and healthcare IT companies that are profitable, or promise soon to be, and that already have at least about $20 million to $200 million in revenues.Its portfolio also includes minimally invasive sinusitis treatment player Entellus Medical ($ENTL), abdominal aortic aneurysm sealant company Endologix ($ELGX), and circulatory support company Abiomed ($ABMD).

Essex Woodlands will add a member to the Suneva board, alongside an independent seat that will also be appointed. Its existing investors include HealthCare Royalty Partners, Spanish pharma Almirall and Polaris Partners.

The $25 million infusion will go to back the commercialization of Bellafill, as well as of its growth factor-enhanced skin care line Regenica.

"The expansion of the aesthetics market continues to grow across the United States. With two differentiated indications for Bellafill and a next generation growth factor product in Regenica, Suneva Medical is uniquely positioned to be a standout in the aesthetics industry," said Suneva chairman and CEO Nicholas Teti, Jr. "The additional funding from Essex Woodlands fortifies our position and allows us to further accelerate the strong momentum of the business which remains committed to product innovation backed by rigorous scientific data."

- here is the announcement