Imaging tech developer NinePoint nails a $34M Series B from Corning, Third Rock and Prospect

Corning ($GLW) is the lead investor in NinePoint Medical's newly nailed-down $34 million Series B round. The 2012 Fierce 15 winner and developer of a cutting-edge organ imaging system also convinced founding investors Third Rock Ventures and Prospect Venture Partners to take part in the company's latest financing.

Dr. Charles Carignan, CEO of NinePoint Medical

NinePoint, based in Cambridge, MA, raised $33 million in 2010. Executives plan to use the company's latest cash infusion to back the ongoing commercial launch of its signature NvisionVLE Imaging System in the U.S. Funds will also back development of an expanded product roster.

So why did Corning take part in the latest round? The company already has a development relationship with NinePoint and the discussions took off from there, Dr. Charles Carignan, NinePoint's president and CEO, told FierceMedicalDevices via email.

"We have worked with Corning as a development partner on our optical probes and gotten to know each other," Carignan told FierceMedicalDevices. "Corning has a long history of expertise in optical fibers and optics that they have used in the telecommunications industry. Our technology incorporates technologies that were developed for high speed communications so it is a good fit with Corning."

Carignan added "we are very happy that [Corning has] decided to invest in us, and look forward to continuing our development work with them, drawing on their vast expertise in optics."

The Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital initially developed the technology, and NinePoint licensed it in 2010. It's designed to give doctors and pathologists organ images in real time, at a depth and resolution unavailable in vivo. The level of organ imaging detail NinePoint achieves would otherwise only be possible through surgical removal, the company has said.

NinePoint Medical's NvisionVLE device

NinePoint gained initial approval in 2011 and won FDA clearance last year to use its device to help physicians visualize esophageal abnormalities at and below the mucosal surface (specifically Barrett's esophagus, which is a precursor to esophageal cancer). A process is also underway to obtain a CE mark for NinePoint's second-generation technology, hopefully by the end of the next quarter, Carignan said.

NinePoint has asserted previously that its technology can help save the healthcare system money and excels at guiding biopsies, with a precision to the point that it can help reduce the rate of repeat procedures for patients who may have cancer. Beyond the esophageal indication, NinePoint is also exploring the use of Nvision for imaging of pulmonary tissue and other lung-imaging applications. The company also envisions pairing its technology with ablation, so physicians could eventually image, diagnose and treat patients all in one procedure.

With the new financing deal, Curt Weinstein from Corning joins NinePoint's board of directors, as well as independent directors Tom Miller and Mark Stautberg. Miller is a veteran executive who has worked at Siemens ($SI), Carl Zeiss and Analogic ($ALOG), among other companies. Stautberg previously handled medical device sales and marketing at Boston Scientific ($BSX) and Baxter Healthcare ($BAX).

- read the release

Special Report: 2012 Fierce 15 - NinePoint Medical

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