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Acutus, Maker of Next-Gen Electrophysiology Tech, Adds $100M Series D

Xconomy San Diego — 

A company that makes a mapping system to help doctors see high-resolution, 3D images of irregular heart rhythms in real time has raised $100 million in venture investment and a $70 million credit facility to fund its full-scale market launch.

Acutus Medical, based in the northern San Diego community of Carlsbad, was founded in 2011. The company’s flagship product, dubbed AcQMap, uses ultrasound to allow physicians to see what is causing a patient’s irregular heartbeat, also known as an arrhythmia.

About 2.7 million people in the US experience the most common type of arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, according to the American Heart Association. The condition, in which the upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly, can increase a person’s risk of stroke and other heart problems.

The AcQMap system can provide a clinician a visual of what’s going on in the heart during a procedure that is commonly used to treat arrhythmia, known as ablation, during which tissue that is believed to be causing the irregular rhythm is destroyed.

“It can be done in about 60 seconds … [which] gives the physician the ability to not only quickly diagnose what’s going on, but also, after they do their first series of therapeutic ablations … quickly remap and see what they did,” says CEO Vince Burgess, who took on the top role at the company in 2017.

Burgess is a venture partner with New York-based OrbiMed, the healthcare-focused investment firm that led Acutus’s $28 million Series B financing round in 2013. Prior to joining OrbiMed in 2010, Burgess was at another medical device company, Volcano. He was part of the founding executive team of the company, which was acquired after he left, in 2014, by Philips (NYSE: PHG) for $1.2 billion.

In 2016, Acutus raised a $75 million Series C round led by Deerfield Management.

Acutus announced a $100 million Series D round last week. Existing backers OrbiMed, Deerfield, Advent Venture Partners, Xeraya Capital, and GE Ventures participated, joined by new investors including 8VC, Opaleye Management, and Pura Vida Investments. OrbiMed and Deerfield provided the $70 million credit facility.

With the new money it has raised, Acutus is hiring “aggressively” to bolster its commercialization efforts in the US and in Europe, Burgess says in a telephone interview. By year’s end he anticipates the company will have about 200 employees, up from its current headcount of about 150, about 100 of which are based in San Diego County.

In addition to rolling out a full market launch in both regions, Burgess says the company plans to continue to make acquisitions. Just last month it announced it had agreed to acquire Rhythm Xience, a San Francisco-based medical device maker, as well as three new strategic partnerships.

“Those business development activities are really centered around allowing our company to become a full-line electrophysiology (EP) company, rather than being simply a mapping system,” Burgess says. “We’ve nearly completed a build-out of a full EP product line. We should be able to provide our EP customers nearly everything they use in ablation procedures on a day-in, day-out basis.”

Companies including Abbott (NYSE: ABT) and Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) have also developed cardiac mapping systems.

As part of the build-out of the commercial team at Acutus, the company last year brought on a new chief commercial officer, Mike Iversen, who previously held leadership positions at Biotronik and at Boston Scientific.