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Venture Capital News: Kona Medical Snares $30M Series C

BELLEVUE, WA, The firm raised $30 million in Series C financing to advance its novel hypertension therapy. Existing investors Essex Woodlands, Domain Associates, Morgenthaler Ventures and BioStar Ventures participated.
Kona Medical, Inc. today announced it has raised $30 million in Series C financing to advance its novel hypertension therapy. Existing investors Essex Woodlands, Domain Associates, Morgenthaler Ventures and BioStar Ventures participated and the financing was led by a large-cap medical technology company. The terms of the financing provide for the potential inclusion of additional investors. The company also announced that John Bowers, former Senior Vice President at SonoSite, Inc., has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer.

Based in Bellevue, Washington, Kona Medical is developing an ultrasound-based approach to address severe high blood pressure (hypertension) through ablation of the renal nerves. Renal nerves are located proximal to the renal arteries, which provide blood flow to the kidneys. Renal nerves are part of the sympathetic nervous system and play a significant role in determining blood pressure. Recent clinical data have shown that ablation of renal nerves can result in profound and lasting reduction in hypertension in patients whose blood pressure is not adequately controlled by medication. Industry analysts have forecast that the future market for devices to effect renal denervation may reach several billion dollars worldwide. Kona's proprietary technology, which utilizes externally delivered ultrasound energy to ablate the renal nerves, can enable non-invasive treatment for drug-resistant hypertension and has significant potential advantages over alternative methods.

"I am pleased to have leading healthcare investors recognize the tremendous potential of Kona's therapy in addressing the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who have uncontrolled hypertension," said Michael Gertner, MD, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kona Medical. "We are also delighted to have John Bowers join the Kona team to provide additional leadership during this important period for the company."

John Bowers is an experienced medical device executive who most recently was Senior Vice President for North America and Strategic Development at point-of-care ultrasound leader SonoSite, Inc. (recently acquired by Fujifilm). Previously, Bowers was CEO of Northstar Neuroscience and held various executive roles at Guidant Corporation and Eli Lilly and Company. While at Guidant, Bowers led the team that acquired enabling technologies for the XIENCE drug-eluting stent, which is now marketed by Abbott and is the worldwide market share leader.

Kona Medical will use proceeds from the financing to fund clinical trials and to add staff in both Bellevue and the San Francisco Bay Area as it advances its technology into commercial development.

About Kona Medical
Kona Medical is committed to alleviating the suffering and health risks associated with drug-resistant hypertension with a more effective, less invasive approach to renal artery denervation. The company was founded in 2009 by Michael Gertner, MD, with seed financing from Essex Woodlands. Kona was formed on the basis of combining Dr. Gertner's inventions in the field with the assets of Therus Corporation, a predecessor company in the field of therapeutic focused ultrasound.

About Hypertension
Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is a leading cause of death worldwide. It is a significant, growing global healthcare problem affecting over one billion people and is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and death. According to the American Heart Association, over 75 million people in the USA alone have high blood pressure, and the economic costs exceed $50 billion annually. Despite public awareness and the availability of numerous pharmaceutical therapies, only about half of all treated hypertensive patients achieve adequate blood-pressure control. Moreover, between 10 and 20% of the hypertensive population is drug resistant, meaning that compliance to a regimen of several drugs does not result in adequate blood pressure control. There are over 10 million drug-resistant hypertension patients in the USA and hundreds of millions of patients worldwide who could benefit from an effective therapy.
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