By AMANDA PEDERSEN
Medical Device Daily Senior Staff Writer
iWalk (Bedford, Massachusetts) has raised $17 million in a private Series D equity financing round led by Gilde Healthcare Partners. Geoff Pardo, partner at Gilde, has joined iWalk's board.
Existing investors, including WFD Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and Sigma Partners also participated in the financing round.
iWalk is a bionics company that makes technology to restore natural function and movement for lower-limb amputees. Earlier this year Medical Device Daily spoke with CEO Tim McCarthy who told MDD at that time that iWalk is building a legacy that will have a "profound social and profound economic impact" (Medical Device Daily, April 3, 2012).
Founded by Hugh Herr, PhD, a bionics pioneer and bilateral amputee himself whose lifelong quest has been to help amputees move more naturally, iWalk has developed the BioOM, a leg system designed to replace the combined functions of the foot, ankle and calf regions of the human leg. The BioOM is the first in a series of products that will be aimed to emulate or even augment physiological function through electromechanical replacement.
The company's first commercially available personal bionics product, the BiOM Ankle System, is designed to emulate an individual's calf muscles and Achilles tendon function to provide powered plantar flexion, which helps people with limb loss move with a natural gait at their chosen speed using the same metabolic energy as a non-amputee.
"The promise and potential of personal bionics is endless and iWalk is well positioned to push this growing market to new, exciting places well beyond traditional orthotics and prosthetic devices," said Geoff Pardo. "We led this investment round because we truly believe that iWalk has the right mix of unique products already on the market, a strong IP portfolio and proven leadership to be very successful and ultimately help improve the quality of life for millions of people around the world."
McCarthy told MDD via e-mail Thursday that this funding round enables iWalk to expand the organization to better support the growing global demand for its personal bionics products.
"We will build on the success of our BiOM Ankle System and make it easier for more people with lower-limb loss to return to work and other important daily activities faster and with greater ease than ever before. In the future, the same underlying technology will also help people whose mobility is limited by stroke, diabetes or other conditions of disease and age."
iWalk says it will primarily use the funding to further develop and commercialize a series of innovative personal bionics products and expand the company's global sales and support infrastructure. The company's solutions are currently available domestically through a vast network of Certified Bionics Centers, VA Medical Centers and the Department of Defense.
"This new round of funding signifies iWalk's unwavering commitment to developing and commercializing products that push the limits of Personal Bionics," McCarthy said. "Gilde Healthcare Partners joins our team of committed investors. With their financial support and partnership, we will build on the success of our BiOM Ankle System and grow the organization to better support the global demand for our next generation of personal bionics products."
When asked about potential exit strategies the company might have in mind, McCarthy told MDD that iWalk "will of course evaluate all options" and that it is "committed to increasing the value of the company and maximizing the return for our shareholders."
In other financing activity:
Henry Schein (Melville, New York) reported the closing of a new $500 million revolving credit facility. This new facility, which matures in September 2017, replaces the firm's current $400 million revolving facility, which was scheduled to mature in September 2013.
J.P. Morgan Securities served as sole bookrunner and joint lead arranger for the new facility. HSBC Bank USA, National Association also served as joint lead arranger.
Henry Schein plans to use its credit facility for working capital and general corporate purposes, including, but not limited to, capital expenditures, the repurchase of the company's capital stock and permitted refinancing of existing debt, as well as for funding potential acquisitions.
Response Genetics (Los Angeles) said it has entered into a purchase agreement with GlaxoSmithKline and one of its existing significant stockholders to raise $8.8 million from the private placement of 8 million newly issued shares of common stock at $1.10 a share.
Response Genetics is a CLIA-certified clinical laboratory focused on the development and sale of molecular diagnostic testing services for cancer. The company's technologies are designed to enable extraction and analysis of genetic information from genes derived from tumor samples stored as formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded specimens.
ABT Molecular Imaging (Knoxville, Tennessee), a medical imaging company selling a production platform to generate unit doses of molecular imaging drugs, said it has secured a $6 million round of financing.
River Cities Capital Funds led the Series C financing, with new investors Mountain Group Capital and Council Capital participating. Intersouth Partners, the company's first institutional investor, also participated. Rik Vandevenne of River Cities joined the ABT board.
ABT says it will use the money to continue implementing its commercialization strategy, expanding its team and developing its technology to increase its efficiency and expand its flexibilty.
According to the company, its Biomarker Generator enables rapid, safe and local production of PET imaging agents in a way that is more convenient, versatile and significantly less expensive than current methods available. It is currently deployed to several research and clinical sites with installations in the U.S., Europe and South America.
Published September 14, 2012