Third Rock's NinePoint Medical gets $15M in debt for novel imaging

NinePoint's NvisionVLE Imaging System--Courtesy of NinePoint Medical

NinePoint Medical has raised $15 million in debt to support the marketing of its endoscopic volumetric imaging system of the esophagus. The financing comes almost two years after the company launched its NvisionVLE Imaging System in the U.S. in May 2013.

The startup was founded in 2009 by Third Rock Ventures and Prospect Venture Partners. In fact, it was the first medical device company that was seeded and launched by the prolific Third Rock, which is more often focused on biotech startups.

Now, Third Rock's portfolio has at least three diagnostics companies and four medical device players. In addition to NinePoint, these include Foundation Medicine ($FMI), which Roche ($RHHBY) acquired half of for more than $1 billion in January. It also has wearable cardiac tracker company Element Science, sympathetic nervous system modulation player Cibiem and painless blood collection provider Seventh Sense Biosystems.

NinePoint in-licensed its imaging technology from Massachusetts General Hospital in 2010; that hospital's Wellman Center for Photomedicine originally developed it.

For the first time, the NvisionVLE Imaging System provides an endoscopic, volumetric view of organs and tissues in real time that is up to 3 mm deep and at greater than 10-micron resolution. It's been adopted in many major U.S. hospitals and used in more than 1,000 procedures, the company said in December.

That's when NinePoint brought in a new CEO, Christopher von Jako, to take it through the next stage. M&A ultimately could be on the table, since that's von Jako's most recent experience. He came from leading NeuroTherm, a minimally invasive pain management company that sold to St. Jude Medical ($STJ) in August for $200 million.

NinePoint has raised at least $64 million in two venture rounds, the most recent of which was a $34 million Series B round in March 2014. Its investors also include Corning ($GLW).

"We are optimistic that the company's unique positioning will successfully change the treatment paradigm in a market with significant unmet needs," Mark Levin, Third Rock partner and a member of the NinePoint board, said in a statement when the company received its Series A in 2010. "We believe NinePoint is well positioned to lead the convergence of access, diagnosis and treatment and develop truly transformational medical devices."

- here is the release

Special Report: FierceMedicalDevices' 2012 Fierce 15 - NinePoint Medical

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