Medtronic has invested $7 million in Tengion, an East Norriton, PA-based regenerative medicine company. The move gives the medical device giant a 17 percent stake in the company, which last year obtained net proceeds of about $26 million as a result of an IPO. Tengion had hoped to raise $40 million in a difficult IPO environment.
Tengion is developing neo-organs and neo-tissues that are derived from a patient's own cells, the company says on its website. It has started a Phase I trial for its neo-urinary conduit in those bladder cancer patients requiring removal of that organ. It has also completed two Phase II trials with its neo-bladder augment for children with neurogenic bladder due to spina bifida and in adults with the condition because of a spinal cord injury.
Medtronic will hold rights to buy Tengion's kidney assets until the end of October 2013. Last October, Medtronic CEO William Hawkins told MassDevice his company is involved in a number of partnerships with smaller companies like Tengion and mentioned regenerative medicine as a particular focus. He added that regenerative medicine fits into the company's goal of moving from "palliative care to restorative care."
"This gives [Medtronic] a seat at the table," according to Phil Nalbone, a medical devices analyst at Wedbush Securities, as quoted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "They are going to be placing a lot of bets like this. When they seem to be working, they will bring them in house."
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Tengion is best known for the research of founder Anthony Atala, who runs the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Piedmont Triad Research Park.