LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- NanoPowers SA, a medical device company that leverages its unique artificial muscle technology to restore or improve muscle function, today announced the closing of a CHF 5 million ($4.5 million) series A financing. The financing round was led by Novartis Venture Funds (NVF). Also participating in the financing were Initiative Capital Romandie (ICR) and Gran Plasa SA. Novartis Venture Funds were also seed investors in the company.
Martin Horst, PhD, chief executive officer, said: "We are very pleased with the ongoing support of the Novartis Venture Funds, and welcome ICR and Gran Plasa to our investor base. We will use the proceeds from the financing to finalize the development of our lead product ARTUS, a breakthrough artificial urinary sphincter, and initiate the first clinical studies. ARTUS addresses a huge unmet medical need, and is the first device of its kind that also lends itself to be easily implanted in women, who are by far the most affected by severe incontinences. Incontinence constitutes a devastating disability, affecting self-confidence and self image, and often leads to social isolation."
Florent Gros, Managing Director of the Novartis Venture Funds, said: "We are excited to support NanoPowers' development of their breakthrough technology applied to artificial sphincters. Incontinence is one of the largest untapped markets in the medical device industry, while demographic changes in western countries are significantly increasing the incidence of incontinences. We believe that ARTUS has the potential to significantly improve patients' quality of live, while substantially reducing treatment costs."
NanoPowers & technology platform
NanoPowers was founded by Piergiorgio Tozzi, MD, of the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), and Professor Daniel Hayoz, of the Cantonal Hospital of Fribourg and the CHUV. Capitalizing on their long experience in surgery, vascular medicine, and innovative device development, they have since 2004 developed a unique artificial muscle technology. NanoPowers' initial focus is on the application of this proprietary technology in the development of artificial muscles for the treatment of severe incontinences. NanoPowers was selected in 2009 by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) as one of the best innovative medical technology companies, and won the prize for best abstract at the European Association of Urology congress in Barcelona in 2010. Dr. Tozzi is chairman of the company's board of directors; Dr. Hayoz is a director.
About Novartis Venture Funds
Novartis Venture Funds, established in 1996, have currently over $750 million under management and is invested in more than 60 private companies. The Novartis Venture Funds invest in companies that have the potential to lead the next innovation wave in core therapeutic fields or explore new business areas that will be critical to patient care. The NVF team of eight investment professionals located in Basel, Switzerland and Cambridge, MA brings together extensive experience in R&D and venture capital. (http://www.venturefund.novartis.com)
About Initiative Capital Romandie (ICR)
ICR is a Swiss venture capital fund, managed by DEFI Gestion SA, a Lausanne based private equity fund advisor. ICR was founded in 2006 by Retraites Populaires Vie, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, Centre Patronal, and Etablissement Cantonal d'Assurance. ICR supports high-tech starts-ups based in the French part of Switzerland. (http://www.defigestion.ch). In connection with the investment in NanoPowers, Claude Suard, partner at DEFI Gestion, will join the NanoPowers' board of directors as an observer.
About Gran Plasa
Gran Plasa SA, a private fund based in Fribourg, Switzerland, invests in high-tech, construction, and real-estate companies in Switzerland and across Europe.