Pathway finds clear road to financing

Pathway Medical Technologies has raised $42.4 million in a Series D round of funding to help develop medical devices to treat peripheral arterial disease, the company says.

To date, the company has raised about $125 million, according to regulatory filings. Investors include WRF Capital, Forbion Capital Partners, Giza Venture Capital, HLM Venture Partners, Latterell Venture Partners, Oxford Bioscience Partners and individual investors.

Pathway seeks to help the growing elderly population maintain circulation in their limbs. Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, causes plaque to build up on the wall of the arteries. It can cause painful cramping in the hips, thighs or legs, says the American Heart Association and affects some 8 million Americans. That number could reach 20 million over the next decade, according to Pathway Medical.

There is no cure for PAD, says Paul Buckman CEO and president of Pathway Technologies, there is only treatment. The company’s device unclogs the plague in the arteries, restoring circulation, says the company.

“Our device is like a Swiss Army knife,” says Buckman, unlike other products that require several different devices to clear arteries, Pathway’s product does the cutting and the cleaning.

The cost effectiveness of medical devices are now more important for clinicians and insurance companies, says Thong Le, a managing director of WRF Capital. Unlike other devices where multiple caterers are used, Pathway’s device only requires the use of one simple caterer that moves back and forth.

PAD is a “nasty actor,” says Buckman, “You see older people who just want to walk and get their mail, they don’t want to run a marathon.” Buckman believes the product will help create a better quality of life.

The treatment is particularly appealing to aging baby boomers, says Le. Pathway’s technology can allow them to dance again, he says.

WRF Capital, the venture arm of the Washington Research Foundation, normally focuses on universities and non-profit research in the state of Washington by providing scholarships and grants.

WRF Capital had been watching Pathways Medical Technologies for 10 years, since the two groups shared an office building, Le says. It used to works on coils for MRIs, an unattractive market for a venture investment, says Le. The startup eventually found a better market in medical devices and brought former Boston Scientific executive Paul Buckman in to run the company.

The Pathway Medical technology approach changed over the years, says Buckman. Four to five years ago, the company went after the peripheral market, which opened up the company to a better market and investors, he says. And the company has been selling the product since the beginning of the year, which Buckman states sales should reach above $2 million dollars.

“There are relatively few revenue producing companies that are raising money these days,” says Jeffrey Barnes, general partner of Oxford Bioscience Partners. This last round of funding should break the company even, he says.

Venture capital financing for medical devices during the first quarter fell 58% from its 2008 level, data show. That’s slightly less than the 61% decrease that rest of the industry experienced, according to the MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data from Thomson Reuters (publisher of PE Week).