By Nancy Dahlberg
INSIGHTEC, a commercial-stage medical technology company led by Maurice R. Ferré, announced on Friday that it has raised a Series F investment round of up to $150 million at a post-money valuation of $1.3 billion. The funding was led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), a subsidiary of Koch Industries focused on funding emerging companies.
"Our partnership with KDT and other investors is helping to fuel our momentum as a rapidly growing number of medical institutions adopt our focused ultrasound technology," said Ferré, CEO and chairman, in a statement. "This new investment demonstrates our investors' commitment to help drive the next generation of focused ultrasound."
INSIGHTEC's Exablate Neuro incisionless neurosurgery platform is approved by the FDA to treat patients suffering from essential tremor and tremor-dominant Parkinson's disease who have not responded to medications, the company said in its announcement. Its device uses high intensity sound waves to ablate the brain’s thalamus, leading to a reduction in hand tremors.
The funding will fuel continued research into the use of focused ultrasound to treat these and other disorders. KDT also invested $150 million in INSIGHTEC in 2017.
The company, which has its global headquarters in Israel and its U.S. headquarters in Miami, has sold its technology to more than 65 health systems around the world, including in South Florida, and the volume of treatments has more than doubled in the last year, according to the company. A study published in Neurology showed that of 76 patients with essential tremor, 58% of reported an improvement of at least 50% in their hand tremors and function at the three-year point, MedCity News reported. The essential tremor treatment is now approved for reimbursement coverage in the USA and a number of other countries.
"INSIGHTEC's focused ultrasound technology is disrupting the way surgery has been performed for generations," said Chase Koch, president of Koch Disruptive Technologies. "KDT is focused on empowering innovative companies and helping them realize their potential to improve the lives of millions of people."
INSIGHTEC was founded in 1999 in Israel. Its chairman, Ferré, became CEO in 2016 and guided the company toward its current focus on neurology.
The funding round as well as INSIGHTEC’s commercialization success also further bolsters Miami’s growing medical devices, life sciences and heath-tech sector. In the past two years, healthcare has been the most active sector for South Florida venture capital. Ferré has always run the company from Miami.
Ferré, an MD, has a long history in healthcare innovation. With Rony Abovitz, Ferré co-founded MAKO Surgical, a transformational robotic surgical company, in 2004. The company went public in 2008 and sold to Stryker Corp. for $1.65 billion in 2013. In addition to Magic Leap, MAKO alums helped start up Orthosensor, DermaSensor and Neocis. Before MAKO, Ferré headed Visualization Technology Inc. in Boston. VTI became the world leader in image guided surgery for ENT, cranial and orthopedic procedures and was acquired by GE Healthcare in 2002.
Today, Ferré also serves on the boards of Endeavor Miami and the Everglades Foundation.
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