Ohio company pulls in $9M Series B for laparoscopic visual shield

An Ohio medical device company pulled in a $9 million Series B round to support the commercial rollout of a high-tech laparoscopic device attachment designed to keep the camera clean during a procedure.

Canaan Partners led the Series B round for Minimally Invasive Devices, and existing investor Charter Life Science also participated.

What to do with the cash infusion? The company plans to use the money to build up its direct sales force and boost manufacturing for FloShield, its FDA-approved laparoscopic vision system. It's a simple concept that could have a lot of traction in the long term--an attachment that uses an air curtain and biocompatible "lens wash" to keep a laparoscopic tool's camera system lens clean during a procedure. It's probably not discussed very much, but as the company notes, fat, smoke or other debris can settle on that laparoscopic camera and cloud the image a surgeon is trying to capture.

"Modern high definition video systems give surgeons a crystal clear view of a patient's organs during laparoscopic surgery, but only when the optics are clean," Minimally Invasive Devices founder and CEO Wayne Poll said in a statement.

Beyond that, the funding represents a reality of the current venture investment market for devices. Investors these days are more likely to commit their cash to a startup or company with a product that has passed development hurtles, rather than an early stage outfit yet to prove itself or reach the regulatory finish line. Third Rock Ventures' new fund represents a notable exception, of course. But Minimally Invasive Devices already has an FDA-approved product, and you can't get a safer venture investment than that.

- read the release