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BAROnova grabs a $27.3M Series C to advance anti-obesity device

Boston Scientific, Highland Capital Partners and others are among the investors
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Weight loss-device company BAROnova lured Boston Scientific ($BSX) and a cadre of new investors to pony up $27.3 million for a Series C venture round. With an eye on both U.S. and European regulatory approvals, executives plan to use the cash to back a pivotal study for its signature product.

In addition to Boston Scientific, Sante Ventures and Lumira Capital also participated in the new round, along with previous investors ONSET Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Arboretum Ventures.

The anti-obesity/weight-loss device market has a number of players with products under development or already on the market, but Goleta, CA-based BAROnova believes its TransPyloric Shuttle device offers something new. During a 10-minute outpatient procedure, doctors place the device into the stomach using an endoscope through the mouth. In short, as the company explains, it is designed to slow digestion and make the user feel more full, so patients eat less. There is also ease of removal; doctors can remove the device the same way if patents want to take it out, also in minimal time.

Should the product advance successfully through clinical trials, BAROnova gains an advantage over bariatric surgery and drug treatments, which carry the risk of a variety of side effects. But the company will vie with many other competitors working to develop minimally invasive anti-obesity devices, including EnteroMedics and IntraPace. Allergan has the Lap-Band device, the effectiveness of which has faced challenges from subsequent studies--the company plans to unload the business by mid-year.

BAROnova's president and CEO, Hugh Narciso, said in a statement that he sees the funding as a "further validation" of the TRansPyloric Shuttle's potential as a minimally invasive way to help obese patients lose weight.

- read the release

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