Sphincter specialist Torax Medical closed a $25 million Series E financing, which will go toward commercially scaling its platform of products for the treatment of chronic diseases stemming from weak sphincter muscles, including digestive, incontinence and obesity disorders.
Torax’s current offerings include the Linx Reflux Management System to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and the Fenix Continence Restoration System for the treatment of fecal incontinence. It markets both in the U.S. and Europe.
The FDA approved the Fenix system last December via the humanitarian device exemption process. The device is a surgical alternative for patients for whom noninvasive treatments for fecal incontinence, such as drugs and dietary changes, do not completely resolve symptoms. The three-component system comprises an implant, an anal sphincter sizing tool and an introducer tool. The implant uses a series of magnetic beads to minimize involuntary opening of the anal canal, thus decreasing the likelihood of severe incontinence. The Linx system works the same way, but with the esophageal sphincter.
Johnson & Johnson’s VC arm led the financing, which also included participation from existing investors, such as Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Piper Jaffray Companies and Mayo Clinic Ventures, according to a statement. Torax also appointed Chas McKhann as chief commercial officer. In 2012, the company pulled in a $30 million Series D to market its Linx system, and in 2009, it picked up $15 million in Series C financing.
"Strong commercial success of both our Linx and Fenix devices has established a foundation that we will now use to accelerate our sales growth," said Torax CEO Todd Berg in the statement. "… With the addition of Chas to the Torax Medical leadership team along with the financial contributions and strategic capabilities of the investors participating in our Series E financing, we will significantly expand patient access to the unique clinical benefits of the Linx and Fenix products."
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