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***For Immediate Release***
BAROnova Secures Investment from Allergan, Inc.
New Obesity Intervention Device Moving to New Clinical Trials; Has the Potential to be Safer and More Cost Effective Without Surgery
GOLETA, CA – October 23, 2008 – BAROnova, Inc. announced today the closing of its Series B financing of $7.5 million, led by a strategic investment from Allergan, Inc., a global multi-specialty healthcare company with a leading portfolio in obesity intervention devices. Series A investors, Arboretum Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and ONSET Ventures, filled out the round.
The proceeds will be used to continue the clinical development of BAROnova’s non-surgical, non-pharmacologic TransPyloric Shuttle (TPS) weight-loss technology, and to fund ongoing operations. This brings total investment in BAROnova to date to $14 million.
“Today’s announcement is an important validation of BAROnova’s technology,” said Hugh Narciso, president and CEO of BAROnova. “Allergan, which is widely known for its specialty pharmaceuticals, has also become pre-eminent in medical devices for obesity intervention. Their financial support in an area they know so well is both gratifying and important to our company.”
BAROnova’s novel weight loss technology uses a revolutionary mechanical approach that ideally causes the patient’s stomach to fill up more quickly and to stay full longer, triggering the body’s natural intake-reduction processes. A device called a “TransPyloric Shuttle” (TPS) is inserted — and later removed — entirely through the mouth, using simple endoscopic procedures. According to Narciso, the TPS is potentially much safer, easier to use, and more cost effective than other approaches on the market, and requires no surgery.
“Many significant, new breakthroughs in medical devices are coming from young companies like BAROnova,” said David Lawrence, senior vice president of corporate development for investor Allergan. “We are pleased to invest in BAROnova’s Series B as the company advances the development of its new technology to meet an unmet need in obesity intervention.”
“Clinical obesity and its side effects, such as diabetes, are a significant health problem in the U.S. and elsewhere and safe and effective intervention presents real market opportunities,” said Rob Kuhling, managing director of ONSET Ventures, a co-investor. “BAROnova’s technology speaks directly to a segment for whom surgical or medical intervention is too risky, too expensive, or otherwise contraindicated.”
Investor Corey Mulloy, of Highland Capital, added, “Current obesity intervention devices are only approved, with certain exceptions, for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher. The World Health Organization classifies as obese any person with a BMI of 30 or above. BAROnova’s TPS technology is targeted at the extensive, un-served population with a BMI of 30 and above. Additionally, it offers medical practitioners an expected safer and lower-cost alternative for their patients who do qualify for existing technology, while potentially offering an option to people who have none.”
BMI is a common measure of obesity, and is calculated directly from an individual’s weight and height. A BMI of 35 in a 5’3” woman puts her at 198 lbs; a 40 BMI ups that to 226 lbs; the same BMI range for a 6’0” man is 258 lbs. to 295 lbs.
According to a 2006 report from the U.S. Center for Disease Control, 20% of the U.S. population is obese, with a BMI of 30 or greater. But less than approximately 25% of those obese individuals exceed the BMI 40 threshold. The rest are below. “BAROnova is potentially providing new therapy to these millions upon millions of individuals,” concluded Mulloy. “This is important technology.”
About BAROnova, Inc.
BAROnova is a clinical-stage medical technology company developing endoscopically delivered devices for the chronic treatment of all stages of obesity. The BAROnova technology focuses on slowing gastric emptying, a known mechanism of action for weight loss and control of diabetes. BAROnova is headquartered in Goleta, CA. For more information about the company, please visit www.BAROnova.com.