Swedish asthma diagnostic company Aerocrine raises $53M after recent FDA nod

Aerocrine ($AERO) has raised 445 million Swedish krona ($53 million) in an oversubscribed rights offering that went almost entirely to existing shareholders including Novo A/S. The company hopes this financing will enable it to ramp up its sales and work toward profitability.

This financing is the latest in a string of good news for the Swedish company. In November, the FDA cleared its next generation device Niox Vero, which measures fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) levels in a clinical setting. This latest financing will help support a U.S. launch that is slated for this quarter.

The company hopes to market its device to asthma specialists, as well as to primary care physicians in order to routinely test them as part of asthma diagnosis and treatment.

Exhaling into the Niox Mino--Courtesy of Aerocrine

The Niox Vero is a small, point-of-care device that gives a patient's FeNO score in about one minute after a 10-second exhalation. It improves upon the previous version, Niox Mino, by including a rechargeable battery and a visual display to encourage a complete, successful exhalation.

The test is designed to detect objectively measure allergic airway inflammation, which the company noted it the leading cause of asthma symptoms.

"Routine FeNO testing helps clinicians find hidden and under-treated allergic airway inflammation, which has been shown to help reduce asthma exacerbations by up to 50 percent compared to usual care," Dr. Kathleen Rickard, Aerocrine's CMO, said in a November statement.

Last April, the often skeptical U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended the use of Niox Mino and Niox Vero to diagnose and manage asthma in adults and children.

During the first 9 months of 2014, Aerocrine had 116 million Swedish krona ($13.8 million) with an operating loss of 130 million Swedish krona ($15.5 million). The company expects this financing could help it move closer to profitability.

Niox Vero was first launched in Europe during the fourth quarter of 2013, with a broader launch in the first quarter of 2014. More than 600 of the systems have been installed in Europe.

At Nov. 28, Novo A/S held 25.3% of the company and Invifed AB had 21.3% and HealthCap held 10.3%. Existing investors were able to participate in the financing on a pro rata basis according to their pre-offering holdings.

- here is the release

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