Neurent cleans up $11M to fund in-office runny nose treatment

Neurent's co-founders, CTO David Townley (left) and CEO Brian Shields (right), plan to use the funding to launch clinical trials of their device and bring on 25 new staff. (Neurent)

Neurent Medical has raised nearly $11 million in series A funding to evaluate and commercialize its in-office treatment for the persistent stuffy and runny nose symptoms linked to rhinitis.

The Galway, Ireland-based company plans to use the €9.3 million ($10.8 million) to fund clinical trials and prepare for FDA clearance and U.S. commercialization of the device, as well as hire up to 25 new staff and senior management in R&D, manufacturing, quality control and regulatory affairs.

Neurent’s single-use device uses electromagnetic energy to target the mucosal structures within the nasal cavity and interrupt the inflammatory cascade that can cause congestion, offering a minimally invasive alternative to surgery.

Inserted through the nostrils, it only requires local anesthesia, with the radio-frequency energy being delivered by an ENT surgeon. Current surgical procedures include using heat to shrink the inflamed soft tissues, possibly causing scarring, or removing tissue to improve airflow. Meanwhile, drug treatments may have to be taken on a long-term basis, and may not be effective, the company said.

“A substantial portion of the rhinitis patient population are candidates for surgical treatments but currently the surgical treatments are sub-optimal, provide only temporary relief and really only address the symptoms of nasal obstruction and do little or nothing for rhinorrhea,” or runny nose, said Justin Lynch, a partner at the investment firm Fountain Healthcare Partners, which lead the financing round.

Atlantic Bridge Capital, the Western Development Commission, Enterprise Ireland and others also participated. Neurent was spun out from the BioInnovate Ireland program at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Neurent estimates that rhinitis affects up to 40% of the population, with more than half suffering from rhinitis caused by allergens such as pollen, pet dander or dust. As the fifth-most common chronic disease in the U.S., and the most-common chronic disease in children, the company projects a potential market as high as $2 billion following full commercialization.