Koch brothers lead $150M investment in device company

Insightec’s device (Courtesy of Insightec)

An investment group owned by the Koch brothers has taken the lead in Insightec’s series E. The round will funnel up to $150 million into Insightec to support commercialization of its noninvasive image-guided neurosurgery device and expansion into new indications.

Koch Disruptive Technologies, an investment fund set up by the billionaire Koch brothers, is leading the round. Initially, Koch and the rest of the investor syndicate will put $75 million into Insightec in an agreement that gives the backers the option to commit the same amount again down the line. That means Insightec now has access to a business-redefining amount of money.

“This investment round elevates Insightec into a new strategic position within the healthcare industry,” Insightec CEO Maurice Ferré, M.D., said in a statement.

Insightec attracted the investment on the strength of the potential of Exablate Neuro, an MRI-guided focused ultrasound device cleared by the FDA for treating essential tremors. Doctors can use the device to aim high-intensity ultrasound at parts of the brain. Where the waves converge, the temperature rises to levels that cause cell death.

With the essential tremor application showing the technology can have a favorable risk-benefit profile, Insightec is stepping up its research into other indications. Parkinson's disease and cancer of the prostate, liver and pancreas are all in Insightec’s sights.  

The investment is the first made by the Koch fund. Koch Industries shared details of the unit in October in a release that talked up Charles Koch’s experience applying technology to agriculture. The release left the door open to the fund working in areas outside of Koch Industries’ traditional areas of focus. And it has now shown its willingness to place big bets on medical devices.