9/24/12 – St. Louis Arch Angels Invest Almost $420,000 in Three Early Stage Companies

St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 24, 2012… St. Louis Arch Angels Network, which works to provide seed and early-stage capital, has announced investments totaling $418,800 in three promising medical device start-up companies in the St. Louis area. The new investments Neurolutions and Kypha, and follow-up funding being invested in CardiaLen, demonstrate the Arch Angels’ continued support of St. Louis’ growing entrepreneurial base.

Based in Maryland Heights, Neurolutions has developed a working prototype of a low-cost stroke rehabilitation device to guide robotic-assisted movements in stroke patients suffering from paralysis of the upper extremities.  The technology was previously used to detect onset of an epileptic seizure by analyzing signals from the brain.  The company was founded by Eric Leuthardt, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of the Center for Innovation and Technology at Washington University; Dan Morna, PhD., Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University, and Gerwin Schalk, PhD., from the Wadsworth Institute.  Tara Butler, M.D. of Ascension Health Ventures, also an investor in Neurolutions, is interim CEO.  Dr. Butler is an Investment Director at Ascension Health Ventures.

“The work Neurolutions is doing represents something that’s never been done before, yet they have already been able to demonstrate its remarkable applications for human beings,” notes Bob Calcaterra, President of the St. Louis Arch Angels. “The $100,000 investment the company received from our investors will support the completion of a clinical prototype of its IpsiHand device and help to fund patient trials that will provide additional evidence of the device’s effectiveness.”

Kypha, which received an investment of $180,000 from the Arch Angels, is currently developing a rapid, point-of-care test that uses one drop of blood to assess immune activity and inflammation.  The investment will help to accelerate commercialization of this Comp ActTM Test, which is projected to benefit patients with autoimmune diseases like lupus, as well as intensive care patients at risk for organ failure, systemic infection and other life-threatening conditions. Kypha was recruited to St. Louis in early 2011 and currently operates out of the BioGenerator Accelerator Labs in the CORTEX-1 Building in Midtown.

“With the Arch Angels, Kypha received a valuable combination of funding and experience,” notes Kypha CEO Chad Stiening, who co-founded the company along with President and CSO Paul Olson. “They clearly understand the start-up space, and their process was extremely well-organized and efficient.”

CardiaLen, which was formed in 2008 to develop and commercialize pain-free cardioversion therapy, and has previously received almost half a million dollars in funding from the St. Louis Arch Angels, recently received an additional $138,800 from the network, bringing the Arch Angels’ total investment in the company to $613,800. The life science company operates out of administrative and clinical headquarters at St. Louis’ Center for Emerging Technologies, where its work is aimed at restoring sinus rhythm to the 2.2 million patients suffering from Atrial Fibrillation (AF) in the U.S.  Prescription medication and treatments currently available have not effectively treated AF, resulting in a large unmet need and new opportunity within the $10 billion cardiac management market. The latest funding will help move CardiaLen closer to the start of human studies.

“These latest investments are a testament to the high level of innovation in the medical device space that’s occurring right here in the St. Louis region,” notes Calcaterra.  “The devices being developed represent products that we believe can quickly be brought to market, making them very attractive to our investors.”

With support from Arch Angels investors, these companies will join a group of several other biotech startup companies that have already seen great success with the help from the Arch Angels.  A sampling of these companies include medical device company EndoStim, which is developing a treatment for severe Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD); Pulse Therapeutics, which is developing a medical device that will significantly increase the efficacy of clot-dissolving drugs for emergency room-based treatment of ischemic stroke; Veniti, a medical device company focused on the management and treatment of venous disease, and the recently funded Euclises Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which is creating a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory proprietary cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor that reduces the cardiovascular risk that typically results from increased blood pressure with use of similar drugs on the market, like Celebrex.

For more information, contact:

Julie Hauser, The Hauser Group (314) 436-9090

Chris Walsh, St. Louis Arch Angels (314) 444-1151