Scientia raises $50M to develop guidewires and microcatheters for stroke, cancer treatment

Scientia Vascular may focus largely on producing medical devices of tiny proportions, but that certainly doesn’t carry over to its latest wave of financing.

The Salt Lake City-based company, which develops not only a suite of microcatheters and guidewires but also the manufacturing technology it takes to produce them, has received $50 million in growth equity to support and expand that development.

The funding came solely from Vivo Capital, a global healthcare investment firm that has backed biotech and medtech companies through its multiple nine-figure venture funds, including, most recently, Esco Lifesciences’ $200 million series A.

The $50 million in growth capital will help speed up global sales and marketing efforts for Scientia’s existing products while also supporting new product development in the neurovascular stroke, peripheral vascular and interventional oncology markets.

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Currently, Scientia’s product portfolio includes a handful of guidewires and microcatheters that, since their 2018 commercial launch, have been used primarily in neurovascular surgeries and specifically in stroke treatment.

Among these are the Plato line of microcatheters—including the Plato 17 model, which was cleared (PDF) by the FDA just last month—and the trio of Aristotle flexible guidewires. Additionally, last August, the company received FDA clearance for and began rolling out its Zoom Wire collection of guidewires, which are designed to lead catheters into the body during intensive, time-critical vascular operations, such as during ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke.

At the time of the Zoom Wire’s launch, John Lippert, Scientia’s founder and CEO, said in a statement that the company had plans to introduce an even wider line of guidewires and microcatheters under the Zoom umbrella in 2021.

Beyond designing and developing its range of neurovascular devices, Scientia also does all of its own manufacturing. To that end, the company has invented patented micromachining and microfabrication technologies to achieve high levels of stability and flexibility in its guidewires and catheters. Scientia has also automated much of this proprietary manufacturing process to ensure consistency in the quality of its products.

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The realm of microcatheters and guidewires has long been dominated by medtech giants like Stryker and Boston Scientific, both of which boast a broad range of products for interventional vascular operations.

More recently, smaller startups have begun to challenge these behemoths with innovative takes on the products, whether through new manufacturing processes like Scientia’s or entirely new technology. In the latter category are companies like Sensome, which is developing sensor-equipped guidewires that use machine learning algorithms to analyze the tissue they come in contact with during stroke treatment.