February 11, 2008

VentureWire

PolyRemedy Seals Up $25M For Wound Care

When Tom Rodgers, principal at Advanced Technology Ventures, first learned of PolyRemedy Inc.'s point-of-care distribution device for wound care products, he said he had his doubts about the company's promises."When I heard this, I was skeptical. It seemed far-fetched. Wound care is a contrarian market," Rodgers said. "But when we went on site visits, everything the company said was parroted back to us."As a result, ATV and IDG Ventures Boston co-led PolyRemedy's $25 million Series B round, alongside new investor Harris & Harris Group and existing investor MedVenture Associates. The money will finance a full-scale launch of PolyRemedy's device for measuring, dispensing and tracking wound care dressings.While there have been many innovations in materials for dressings, doctors and nurses have had to cut and measure wound care products by hand with technology that has little changed over the decades. "The chronic wound space is enormous," said Michael Greeley, general partner at IDG. "But it's really a backwater in the hospital market."Since 2005, PolyRemedy, of Mountain View, Calif., has been developing a device that would be able to create multi-layer dressings to exact specifications. The result, a device that Greeley called "a cross between R2D2 and a Coke machine," not only contains a computer console to customize the dressing, but also tracks the materials used and can alert supply personnel when refills are needed. It can also be accessed wirelessly and transmit data to health-care professionals."Our system, because it's software-based, and because it sits at the point of care, makes ordering and replenishing costs seamless," said President and Chief Executive Dan Eckert, who joined PolyRemedy last August.Eckert, who began his career selling wound care products for Johnson & Johnson Inc., is a former CEO of Direct Patient Solutions Inc. and chief operating officer of Neoforma Inc. With fund-raising over, he said he would turn his efforts to moving from the few alpha products currently in clinics to a full-scale launch of the device by next year.Despite his initial skepticism, Rodgers said PolyRemedy fits into a growing trend in ancillary medical devices. "We've been very focused on the core of medical devices, such as surgical devices," he said. "But we are seeing an emergence of therapeutic-enabling devices, such as molecular diagnostics and imaging."Such investments are particularly attractive because they can help reduce the costs of health care and have quicker regulatory pathways. In the case of PolyRemedy, Eckert said the Food and Drug Administration classified it as a Class 1 device, allowing it to bypass the 510(k) exception process entirely. However, as the company looks to add more specialized dressings to its offering, more scrutiny from regulators may be needed.Greeley said the new financing round will be sufficient for that, and all that the company needs to reach profitability. Eckert declined to give a timeframe on reaching break-even.Prior to this round, PolyRemedy raised $4 million in Series A financing from MedVenture in a round with a final close in August 2006. PolyRemedy has 19 employees.