Startup gets $50M to back minimally invasive GERD treatment, after securing reimbursement code

EndoGastric Solutions has raised up to $50 million to back its transoral incisionless fundoplication device to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Its Esophyx device nabbed a CPT code in October that's expected to make reimbursement for the procedure easier and will be in force at the start of 2016.

The shift from invasive surgery to natural orifice surgery (NOS)--Courtesy of EndoGastric Solutions

The company released a third-gen Esophyx device earlier this year. It was originally FDA cleared in 2007 and has already been used in more than 17,000 patients globally. EGS expects to use the new cash infusion for broad commercialization of Esophyx, as well as for R&D to develop next-generation products that can also be useful in the TIF procedure.

"EGS has demonstrated that the strong data and dramatic shifts in healthcare economics support increased access to their proprietary TIF procedure using Esophyx technology," said CRG chairman Charles Tate in a statement.

This financing for the Redmond, WA-based startup is led by CRG along with existing investors Advanced Technology Ventures, Canaan Partners, Chicago Growth Partners, Foundation Medical Partners, and Radius Ventures.

GERD is the most common gastrointestinal-related diagnosis that's made by U.S. physicians, the company said, with more than 80 million Americans having acid reflux at least monthly. Medications to treat symptomatic GERD can be required for long periods of use and in escalating dosages to be effective.

Lifestyle changes such as altering diet, eating times and sleeping positions are the first line of defense. If left untreated, GERD can cause heartburn as well as injury to the esophageal lining due to the constant exposure to stomach acids.

Esophyx is used to reconstruct the gastroesophageal valve to restore its function as a barrier and prevent stomach acids from entering the esophagus. The TIF procedure is minimally invasive, with the device inserted via the patient's mouth.

"Now that significant clinical data and reimbursement hurdles have been addressed, it is time to focus incremental resources into expanding access to millions of chronic GERD sufferers who could benefit from our TIF procedure," said ESG President and CEO Skip Baldino. He previously headed Given Imaging, which was acquired last year for $860 million by Covidien, now Medtronic ($MDT).

- here is the financing announcement