Connecticut Innovations Leads $2.4 Million Investment Round in NovaTract Surgical Inc.
Company prepares for product launch in 2013
Rocky Hill, Conn., June 14, 2012 – Connecticut Innovations (CI), the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for technology-based innovation and economic development, today announced that it has made a $1 million investment in NovaTract Surgical Inc. (NovaTract) of New Haven, Conn., through its Eli Whitney Fund. CI’s investment was part of a $2,375,000 Series A funding round, also involving Vital Financial, Golden Seeds, LaunchCapital, Enhanced Capital, Advantage Capital Connecticut, and individual investors. CI previously made $208,000 in pre-seed investments in NovaTract in 2010, as well as a $250,000 seed investment in 2011.
NovaTract is developing medical devices that reduce the number of incisions used in minimally invasive surgery. The company licensed its core technology from Yale University. Kurt E. Roberts, M.D., an assistant professor of gastrointestinal and general surgery at Yale School of Medicine and NovaTract’s scientific founder, developed the technology and related techniques for its use.
NovaTract’s initial product is an internal organ retraction device that will benefit patients who must undergo abdominal surgery such as gall bladder removals and appendectomies. The device will allow general surgeons to reduce the number of incisions required to perform the surgery laparoscopically, and also more easily use the single-port and natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) methods, which currently require such a high level of skill that they are used by only about a dozen surgeons in the United States. Reducing the number of incisions per surgery offers several advantages. It results in less pain and scarring for the patient and shorter recovery times, due to the lower risk of post-operative infection, adhesion and hernias in the abdominal wall. The company’s device will help make such surgeries easier to perform and save surgeons time.
“We are delighted to continue our support of NovaTract as the company moves closer to launching its first product,” said Claire Leonardi, chief executive officer and executive director of CI. “NovaTract is an excellent example of how technology transfer can yield promising results. Fostering better collaboration among university, state, and private sector members of the state’s technology community is one the major areas of focus for the Malloy administration—and with good reason. It is one of the keys to building a vibrant, innovation-driven tech sector in Connecticut.”
CI’s initial pre-seed support and funding for NovaTract in 2010 was provided in tandem with a $25,000 novel technology pilot award from the Yale University Clinical and Translational Science Award and the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation. This initial funding not only launched NovaTract but also helped the company develop its earliest prototype device.
The company has completed prototype design, fabrication and manufacturing of its organ retraction device and, in December, successfully completed animal testing. The Series A round will enable Novatract to bring its first product to market by mid-2013.
“We are at such a critical, yet exciting time in the company’s development,” said Eleanor Tandler, chief executive officer of NovaTract. “I am so very pleased that all our previous investmentpartners, as well as our new investors, have decided to participate in this financing round and help us build NovaTract into a successful venture. We feel fortunate to have received such overwhelming support from within the state of Connecticut.”
“Connecticut Innovations’ investment in NovaTract Surgical, one of Connecticut’s 200-plus medical implement companies, is wisely aligned with other significant investments in the emerging bioscience and biomedical sector, because healthcare-related industries are forecast to be growth centers for the foreseeable future,” Senator Toni N. Harp (D-New Haven) said. “I’m very excited about the prospects for these collaborative initiatives in which public sector resources support cutting-edge, academic research to foster new, private sector expansion.”
David Wurzer, CI managing director, investments, will continue to represent CI on NovaTract’s board of directors.
About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is a quasi-public organization dedicated to driving a vibrant, entrepreneurial, technology-based economy in Connecticut. CI stimulates high-tech growth by investing in early-stage Connecticut technology companies, university/industry research collaborations and technology transfer and collaborating with government, business, nonprofit and academic organizations to advance technology growth and promote public policies consistent with CI’s mission. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.
About Novatract Surgical Inc.
NovaTract Surgical Inc. (NovaTract) was founded to develop new, innovative laparoscopic medical devices to address minimally invasive surgery. The company’s initial product addresses the need to reduce the number of incisions necessary to perform minimally invasive surgery. Surgeries involving fewer incisions result in less pain and scarring, lower risk of infection, adhesion or hernias in the abdomen wall, and, in turn, shorter recovery times. For more information, please go to www.novatract.com.