NanoGram Gets a Charge from $9.2M

Take heart, people with tomophobia may soon have less to worry about. NanoGram Devices Corp., which makes nano-scale energy sources for impantable medical devices, last week closed a $9.2 million Series A round.

That should be welcome news to anyone with a pacemaker who also happens to have tomophobia, fear of surgical operations. It would mean fewer trips under the knife.

NanoGram, based in Fremont, Calif., was spun out of venture-backed power source developer NeoPhotonics Corp. in December. Investors in the round included many of the same firms that have already poured $56 million into NeoPhotonics – Bay Partners, Nth Power Technologies and Venrock Associates. Other investors include Harris & Harris Group, Rockport Capital Partners and SBV Venture Partners.

The new company will be lead by Ken Westrick, a director on NeoPhotonics’ board and former CEO of fiber optics components maker New Focus. He is charged with making the company profitable after just one round.

At least NanoGram has a headstart. NeoPhotonics, which uses nanotechnology to create optical films for communication networks, used the same materials and manufacturing processes to develop a power source for medical devices. It worked with affiliate NanoGram and an unnamed medical device company for three years to complete its initial research, and the intellectual property that emerged from that partnership now belongs to NanoGram.

NanoGram’s first product will be a high-range implantable power source to enable a new generation of smaller, longer-lasting devices for cardiac therapy. It is building power sources for defibrillators, congestive heart failure devices and pacemakers. It says it has already shipped its technology to medical device makers that are both customers and development partners.

NanoGram isn’t alone in using nanotechnology to build power sources. Konarka Technologies of Lowell, Mass., is developing solar energy cells. It raised $13.5 million from ChevronTexaco, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, NextGen Partners and others.

Email Carolina Braunschweig