Monteris nabs $30M to grow its less invasive neurosurgery tech

Canada's Monteris Medical announced a $30 million equity financing for its NeuroBlate robotic neurosurgical system to ablate, or destroy using heat, brain lesions like primary and metastatic tumors. The Series B investors also receive warrants that are worth an additional $10.6 million if exercised.

An illustration of the NeuroBlate robotic neurological system--Courtesy of Monteris Medical

NeuroBlate comprises integrated hardware, software and a catheter, enabling "real-time, minimally invasive neurosurgery" and is mainly used on patients with brain tumors, CEO John Schellhorn said in an interview. "We are one of only a couple technologies in the world that are used in a live active MRI magnet. So we take both imaging and thermography data from an MRI, we put it into our proprietary software and algorithms, and we are able to visualize the lesion that we are looking to ablate. ... We can actually see the thermal damage that's occurring precisely as the result of the surgeon's robotic manipulation of our laser. So, he's able to scope his ablation very carefully to the contours of the lesions, thereby getting the pathological tissue, but preserving healthy tissue beyond the margins of the lesions," he explained.

The hole in the skull required for the surgery is only the size of a no. 2 pencil eraser. Compared with a more invasive craniotomy, surgeons are quicker to recommend NeuroBlate customers for chemotherapy following surgery because they have fewer concerns about wound healing, Schellhorn said.

The device picked up FDA clearance and Health Canada approval in April 2013. Schellhorn said the funding will help the company grow its sales and marketing organization in North America and expand its clinical programs to prove and improve the efficacy of NeuroBlate. The CEO is also aiming to get the product approved in Europe, China and Japan.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to be involved with a company that is striving to address the significant needs of neurosurgeons and their patients with less invasive technology," said Dr. Matthew Strobeck, partner at Birchview Capital, in a statement. "The market for neurosurgical devices that target incurable and difficult to treat brain lesions is significant and we are hopeful the company's technology will become standard of care for many of these patients."

The Series B builds on a $13 million financing in October 2013 that included $5 million in debt from Oxford Finance.

The latest round was led by new investor Birchview Capital of Burlington, VT; other investors were new investor The Vertical Group of Basking Ridge, NJ, and previous investor BDC Capital Healthcare Fund, a subsidiary of the Business Development Bank of Canada.

- read the release

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