Prostate Treatment Developer HistoSonics Gets $11M, U-M Tech Transfer Beams With Pride

Seems everybody is getting what they need out of medical device startup HistoSonics, a University of Michigan spinout that recently collected $11 million in Series A financing.

Ken Nisbet, executive director of the U-M Tech Transfer office, got what he calls a “dream come true,” a kind of poster child for everything his office can do to help good ideas leave the lab and enter the marketplace.

Chris Gibbons, the company’s president and chief operating officer, found a new company to jump right into after the success of her last U-M-launched startup.

A group of top U-M scientists get to see their ideas produced in the real world-and not simply in academic papers.

Oh, and men who suffer from enlarged prostate might find relief through a device that can noninvasively both image and attack their condition, without the need for incisions or surgery.

First, the news: The $11 million Series A round came in January and was led by Venture Investors, based in Ann Arbor, MI and Madison, WI. Also on board with the financing are Fletcher Spaght Ventures, Hatteras Venture Partners, Early Stage Partners, and TGap Ventures.

Nisbet beams like a proud parent when it comes to HistoSonics. His office, along with the Coulter Translational Research Partnership at the U-M Department of Biomedical Engineering, provided initial funding and know-how to help the inventors take their project to the next level. They did that by matching them with experienced executives and mentors. The Coulter Project teamed a urologist from the U-M Medical School with the biomedical engineers. And the Tech Transfer Center provided a “mentor-in-residence” in the form of Jim Bertolina, a medical device expert from Kalamazoo who is now the company’s chief technology officer.

That’s where Gibbons came in. She had been involved in the launch of U-M startup Sensicore, a company that developed sensor networks for water testing. As chief financial officer, Gibbons helped guide Sensicore through to its acquisition by General Electric in 2008. So, she was ready for a new challenge. Or, as Gibbons puts it, “What do I do when I grow up?”

She found the answer at Venture Investors in Ann Arbor, where she landed a gig as an … Next Page »

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