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GSK-backed SetPoint raises $15M to advance anti-inflammatory, neuromodulation device

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How SetPoint's neuromodulation device works--Courtesy of SetPoint (click to enlarge)

SetPoint Medical has an ambitious aim to use bioelectronics to treat inflammatory ailments and an equally impressive line-up of venture investors--including several strategic ones. Now it's added $15 million to a Series C round that originally closed in August 2013 to hit a total of $43 million. The financing will go to further advance its neuromodulation device in clinical studies to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.

This latest financing included three existing strategic investors: GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) via its Action Potential Venture Capital (APVC) that it set up in 2013 as a $50 million venture fund dedicated to investing in bioelectronics medicines; Covidien Ventures and Boston Scientific ($BSX). Other existing SetPoint investors include Morgenthaler Ventures, Foundation Medical Partners and Topspin Partners.

"SetPoint's progress to date has been impressive, with promising data showing the potential of bioelectronic medicine as a revolutionary new way to treat diseases without drugs, using the body's own systems," said APVC Partner Juan-Pablo Mas in a statement. "We look forward to working with SetPoint to help fulfill this potential to deliver innovative treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases."

There are only two other APVC portfolio bioelectronics companies, according to the fund's site. These are Axon Therapies and another undisclosed company.

Founded in 2006, Valencia-CA based SetPoint expects that this latest infusion of cash to conduct further safety and efficacy clinical testing for its bioelectronic therapy that uses an implantable pulse generator to stimulate the vagus nerve in an effort to reduce systematic inflammation. The idea is to stimulate the body's natural inflammatory reflex, which then results in an improvement in clinical signs and symptoms.

SetPoint Medical has an ongoing, open-label clinical trial in 15 Crohn's patients that slated to have final primary endpoint data in December.

The company presented first-in-human pilot data in November 2012 that found that its approach could achieve results similar to current drug treatments for rheumatoid arthritis. In the 8 person study, two achieved remission based on the Disease Activity Score while 6 showed a positive response on the American College of Rheumatology Response Rate--both of these are standard efficacy measures in RA.

The company is based on science by its co-founder Kevin Tracey and his colleagues published in the journal Nature in May 2000 that characterized the inflammatory reflex, a neurophysiological mechanism that regulates the immune system. It's thought to relay information via the vagus and splenic nerves to signal to novel population of T cells in the spleen that directs effector cells to reduce their production of the mediators that start and maintain the inflammation.

- here is the statement

Special Report: FierceMedicalDevices' 2013 Fierce 15 - SetPoint Medical

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