Metavention raises $65M to trial Type 2 diabetes treatment

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If the approach works as hoped, it will provide a one-hit way to improve glucose control (Image: daizuoxin/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Metavention has raised $65 million to take its neuromodulation therapy for Type 2 diabetes through a midphase trial. The Minneapolis-based medtech firm is aiming to improve glucose control in diabetics by ablating nerves linked to metabolic organs.

Preclinical studies suggest targeted sympathetic tone reduction can enhance the body’s ability to control glucose levels. Metavention has built on this work by developing a catheter, radiofrequency generator and energy delivery protocol designed to enable the minimally-invasive ablation of certain nerves connected to the liver, pancreas and duodenum. 

Entering the body through the femoral artery, the doctor guides the device up the body toward the hepatic blood vessels. Once in place, the device delivers radiofrequency energy to take out nerves and, in doing so, dials down the sympathetic tone to metabolic organs. 

If the approach works as hoped, it will provide doctors with a one-hit way to improve the glucose control Type 2 diabetics achieve on existing treatment regimens. Such an effective adjunctive therapy could cut the number of patients with uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes and, by extension, lessen the harmful consequences of the condition.

Metavention moved the device into a first-in-human clinical trial in 2015. And it has now turned to a syndicate of investors to fund its plans to push forward with phase 2 trials of the therapy. 

New Enterprise Associates (NEA) led the round with the support of new backers Sanderling Ventures, RK Mellon and Horowitz Group. Existing investor Versant Ventures, which has been involved with Metavention since its early days as a West Coast startup, returned for the series C round, as did an unnamed corporate investor. 

Metavention released news of its new CEO as part of the series C release. Kevin Hykes, who oversaw Metavention during its move from California to Minnesota, left the company last year to take the top job at another NEA-backed medical device company, Relievant Medsystems. That left Metavention with a hole at the top that it has appointed Todd Berg to fill.

Berg arrives at Metavention having guided his last company, Torax Medical, to a takeover by Johnson & Johnson. The CEO will now now apply his 25 years of experience in the medical technology sector to the development of Metavention’s metabolic neuromodulation therapy.