Devices & Diagnostics

Medtronic invests in sleep disorders treatment firm it spun out in 2007

Inspire Medical Systems, which has developed an implantable neurostimulation device to treat sleep apnea, announced Friday that it has raised $14.5 million in a series C round. New investors include Medtronic, which licensed the technology to Inspire back in 2007, and TGap Venture,  while existing investors, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, US Venture Partners, Synergy […]

Inspire Medical Systems, which has developed an implantable neurostimulation device to treat sleep apnea, announced Friday that it has raised $14.5 million in a series C round.

New investors include Medtronic, which licensed the technology to Inspire back in 2007, and TGap Venture,  while existing investors, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, US Venture Partners, Synergy Life Science Partners and GDN Holdings, also participated in the round.

In an email, Inspire Medical’s President and CEO Tim Herbert explained that while Medtronic manufactures the device and has a licensing agreement with Inspire, this is the first time that the medical device giant has taken an equity stake in the company.

Including this round, Inspire Medical has raised a total of $37 million. Money from the current financing round will be used to expand commercialization of the Minnesota company’s technology in Europe, fund clinical trials and to submit the technology for regulatory approval in the U.S.

That will come in 2013, following the completion of a pivotal trial that is currently being conducted. Patients have been recruited and the device has been implanted as part of the STAR (Stimulation Therapy for Apnea Reduction) trial.

“The swift enrollment of our STAR pivotal trial demonstrates the significant interest that patients have in Inspire therapy. It also reflects the strong commitment our physician investigator group has made to develop this promising therapy,” Herbert said in a news release. “Our focus now is to gain regulatory approvals and to secure reimbursement mechanisms so that this patient group will have access to our breakthrough technology.”

Inspire Medical is not the only company taking the implantable neurostimulation approach to treating moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.

Another is Apnex Medical, also based in Minnesota. Both companies’ technologies sense respiration and deliver mild stimulation to treat the condition.

A third company based in San Diego — ImThera Medical — doesn’t sense respiration. Its device stimulates multiple muscles of the tongue compared with Apnex’s and Inspire’s devices, which only stimulate the largest muscle. All three companies have received regulatory approval  in Europe.

[Photo Credit: Salvatore Vuono]