We’ve heard talk since the middle of last year that MIT inventors Michael Cima and Bob Langer had again united with top venture capitalists in the Boston area to launch a life sciences startup. But the founders of the startup have tried to keep lid on their activities—until today. Taris Biomedical, formerly known as Certus Biomedical, is expected to unveil its drug-delivery device for bladder disorders during a meeting at MIT this morning.
Christine Bunt, co-founder and chief operating officer of Taris (which the company puts in all capital letters to stand for targeted intravesical system), gave me a sneak preview of the startup’s presentation due to be made this morning by Cima at IdeaStream, a symposium on innovation organized by MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. A big piece of previously undisclosed news is that the Lexington, MA-based startup quietly closed a $15 million Series A round of venture capital last August, with contributions from initial backer Boston-based Flybridge Capital Partners, Waltham, MA-based Polaris Venture Partners, and Flagship Ventures in Cambridge, MA.
Taris was formed last April to commercialize an implanted device that Cima and his colleagues at MIT invented to improve how drugs are delivered to the bladder. The device has the potential to be used for treating urinary tract infections, cancer, incontinence, and other bladder disorders. Though Bunt kept many of the details of the drug-delivery device under wraps—due to the startup’s plans for a full public launch at XSITE 2009 (the Xconomy Summit on Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship) on June 24—she filled me in on some basics of the technology.
The firm’s device is designed to function like an osmotic pump, using osmotic pressure to release drugs into the bladder. Bunt compares the size of the device—which is made with such materials as silicon and a nickel alloy wire—to a medium-sized paper clip, and its shape to a pretzel. The device would be inserted in short catheter-based procedures in a doctor’s office or hospital. Once implanted, the system is designed to deliver drugs into the bladder for a certain period of time. Then the device is removed after, say, a couple of weeks. (Taris plans to disclose its initial use of the technology at XSITE, the COO says.)
Delivering drugs to the bladder is tricky business. The current options include oral tablets, which must travel through the body to get to the bladder and can cause side effects in other organs. Some bladder diseases are treated with individual infusions or injections of a drug. But there are limits to how much of the … Next Page »
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