Intrinsic raising $21M for implant to improve lumbar disc surgery

Intrinsic Therapeutics' Barricaid device--Courtesy of Intrinsic Therapeutics

Effective surgical elimination of back pain is a sensitive subject, as it's so difficult to achieve. But one company, Intrinsic Therapeutics, may be hitting that mark. It's aiming at more effective surgical treatment of lumbar disc herniation and is in the process of raising almost $21 million in venture capital, according to a Sept. 17 SEC filing.

The company has some high-profile venture firms represented on its board--New Enterprise Associates, New Leaf Venture Partners and Spray Venture Partners. It's already raised $17.3 million of a proposed $20.9 million round.

Intrinsic is in the midst of what it has dubbed the "largest and most comprehensive study ever performed to investigate the effects of discectomy in the lumbar spine." In August 2013, it reported enrolling the 400th patient in this trial with centers in the EU. It is comparing the rate of disc reherniations and improved function for high risk patients for Intrinsic's Barricaid device compared to limited discectomy alone.

The startup received a CE mark in 2009 for Barricaid. The device is designed to treat large anular ruptures; patients with large ruptures have a higher chance of disc reherniations. About one-quarter of patients with large anular ruptures relapse after a traditional discectomy, but in a study the company said it had a relapse rate of only 1.5% for patients with an annulus defect of more than 6 mm.

A standard discectomy leaves an opening in the outer structure of the disc at the end of surgery. The Barricaid is formed of flexible mesh that mimics the structure of a healthy anulus, which is formed from layers of counterangled collagen fibers. The anulus is the outer fibrous layers of the intervertebral disc.

According to the SEC filing, more than 28 investors have already participated in the current financing round. Its prior financing was in 2012 for $12 million, according to SEC filings.

Intrinsic was founded in 2000. Its founder, Greg Lambrecht, was previously VP of product development and marketing at orthopedic implant giant Stryker ($SYK). He came up with the idea for the Barricaid after his own mother had to endure a second discectomy to remove a disc after the initial surgery proved ineffective.

- here is the SEC filing for the latest financing