Devices & Diagnostics

Rotation Medical raises $12 million to expand sales of its rotator cuff disease system

A 10-year old startup that has developed a new way to treat rotator cuff disease raises $12 million in an extension of a Series B round.

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A Minnesota startup that has been around for 10 years announced that it has raised $12 million in a Series B extension round.

Rotation Medical, which has developed a FDA-cleared bioinductive implant to treat rotator cuff disease, garnered the money from existing investors — New Enterprise Associates, Life Science Partners and Pappas Ventures. The money will be available in two tranches and will be used to help expand the use of the device, which comprises the implant, disposable tools and a delivery system.

“Since launching our Rotation Medical rotator cuff system in fall 2014, we’ve experienced rapid growth and very positive momentum,” said Martha Shadan, president and CEO of Rotation Medical, in a news release. “This additional investment in our company will allow us to expand our U.S. presence and continue to support the tremendous physician adoption we have experienced thus far.

Rotation Medical has its roots in a company called Denali Medical, founded in 2006, according to documents with the Securities & Exchange Commission. It was led by Thomas Hektner, who was the founder of StarFire Medical, a manufacturer of implantable devices for neurovascular disease that was acquired by Nfocus Medical.

By March 2010, Denali Medical changed its name to Rotation Medical and the following year was no longer calling itself a biotech company as it continued to raise money with very little known about its activities. A CEO change occurred in 2010 and Thomas Westling became CEO with Hektner transitioning to a board member.

The current CEO is Martha Shadan who became CEO in 2013 according to her LinkedIn profile. Westling is now chairman and chief operating officer. Hektner does not appear to be involved with the company any more, even at the board level.

It was under Shadan’s leadership that Rotation got its rotator cuff device system cleared at the FDA and raised $27.4 million in a Series B funding round.

The Rotation Medical Rotator Cuff System can be used instead of standard repair tactics for patients who have partial-thickness tears, according to Rotation Medical’s website. The hope is that the device can potentially prevent and/or slow the progression of the disease. For patients that have full-thickness tears, the procedure can be done in conjunction with traditional repairs.

The company’s technology deploys a collagen based bioinductive implant, which is about the size of a postage stamp. The device is placed arthroscopically through a small incision over the location of a patient’s rotator cuff tendon injury, and is secured with the use of staples. Over time, the bioinductive implant is slowly dissolved and has been shown in clinical studies to “heal the tendon by inducing the growth of new tendon-like tissue, resulting in thicker tendons and replacement of tissue defects,” according to Rotation Medical’s website

Rotator cuff disease is the most common cause of shoulder pain. It may result from sports injury, natural degeneration as a result of aging or repeated overhead activity that leads to the damaging of the tendon.

Here is an animation of how the device is placed and how it works:

Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos user Salvatore Vuono