YC graduate Zenflow bags $31M to develop prostate device

The Zenflow team. (Image: Zenflow)

Zenflow has raised $31.4 million. The Y Combinator graduate will use the series A funds to run clinical trials of a minimally invasive device designed to treat obstructive urinary symptoms in patients with enlarged prostates. 

San Francisco-based Zenflow’s lead device is the Spring System. The implant is made of a material capable of returning to its original shape after being distorted. After being delivered via a catheter under direct visualization into a patient with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the implant holds back the growing prostate to alleviate obstructive urinary symptoms.

The result is a device designed to permanently relieve BPH symptoms after a single procedure that can be done in a urologist's office. Zenflow anticipates patients experiencing minimal side effects. 

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That pitch has attracted an investor syndicate led by Invus Opportunities, F-Prime Capital Partners and Medical Technology Venture Partners. The trio powered Zenflow to a large series A round that will enable it to start enrolling patients at trial sites in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico this year. Zenflow also wants to get FDA clearance to run a pivotal trial in the U.S. Those studies will build on the early results from an ongoing 30-patient safety and feasibility trial.

RELATED: NeoTract posts upbeat 5-year data on urinary tract device

If all goes to plan, Zenflow will emerge from the clinical development program with a device that can compete with NeoTract’s UroLift. The NeoTract device has gained traction with U.S. payors on the back of data showing it delivers sustained, multiyear improvements in urinary flow rate and a range of other endpoints.

UroLift shares some of the anticipated benefits of Zenflow’s Spring System, such as the ability to do the procedure in the urologist’s office. Zenflow’s use of a flexible catheter, not rigid scope, could give it an advantage over UroLift. The device may also cut the proportion of patients who need catheters and shorten recovery times. But Zenflow needs to generate more data to show it has the edge in these areas.