February 21, 2013

Dow Jones VentureWire

Gynesonics Raises $21M Series D for Uterine Fibroid-Ablating Device

Gynesonics Inc., developer of an ablation device to treat uterine fibroids, has raised a $21 million Series D round to launch commercial efforts in Europe and clinical studies in the United States, the company said.

New investor HBM Partners, a Swiss firm, led the Series D, joined by new investor Correlation Ventures and return investors Abingworth, Advanced Technology Ventures and InterWest Partners, the company said.

Dr. Chandra Leo of HBM Ventures has joined the company's board of directors.

Gynesonics has raised roughly $65 million from investors altogether, Chief Executive Darrin Uecker said. He declined to give a valuation for the Redwood City, Calif.-based company.

Gynesonics has approval from European regulators to sell its VizAblate System, which is a transcervical, ultrasound-guided ablation device to treat uterine fibroids. The same device is undergoing clinical studies in the hope it will be approved for the U.S. market.

Uterine fibroids are common, benign tumors that form in the uterus and which are sometimes left untreated because they do not always cause health problems. But they can also cause pain, bloating and hemorrhaging and--in the case of pregnant women--reproductive complications.

The condition today is often controlled with medication, or by hysterectomy, which is the removal of the uterus itself. But newer, device-based treatments are becoming more common.

Gynesonics' system makes use of a handheld device that is introduced to the patient's uterus via the cervix, meaning the company can label its treatment incision-free and minimally invasive. The device uses ultrasound to home in on fibroids, then applies radio-frequency energy to ablate, or gently burn away, the tumors, company materials said.

While other venture-backed companies offer ablation devices to treat the condition, Gynesonics hopes to stand apart because it has combined ultrasound and radio-frequency capabilities onto a single device, Mr. Uecker said. With ultrasound and RF energy working side-by-side, a gynecologist has an image-guided system, and can watch the procedure as he or she performs it.

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