Michigan’s HistoSonics grabs $11M for prostate-disease-fighting device

Charles Cain, a University of Michigan professor and HistoSonics co-founder

Charles Cain, a University of Michigan professor and HistoSonics co-founder

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — University of Michigan spin-off HistoSonics Inc. has secured $11 million in financing to develop a device that uses ultrasound pulses to treat prostate disease, according to a statement from the University.

The company plans to use the funding to further develop its histotripsy technology, a noninvasive, image-guided system that shrinks swollen prostates and destroys cancer tumors. The three-employee company licensed the technology from UM and formed in November.

The company’s founders have high expectations for the technology. “It’s probably going to revolutionize the way ultrasound therapy is done,” said Charles Cain, a UM professor of biomedical engineering. The device is based on research by Cain and another UM professor.

The $11 million Series A financing is led by Venture Investors of Ann Arbor and Madison, Wis., according to the statement.

While most ultrasound products on the market  use heat to destroy unwanted tissue, HistoSonics’ device uses cavitation—the production of tiny energetic bubbles—to create a surgical scalpel that liquefies tissues without heat, according to the statement.

The device’s first clinical application will be treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, a condition in which the prostate enlarges and presses on the urethra, disrupting the flow of urine. About 400,000 patients suffering from the condition are treated surgically every year, according to the statement. However, that invasive surgery brings with it significant risks, such as infection, incontinence and impotence.

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