Two Twin Cities companies — one that developed a medical device to treat prostate cancer, and a startup that designed a cloud-based platform where biomedical researchers can manage data — recently secured a combined $77 million from investors to further their growth.
Maple Grove-based Francis Medical on Wednesday announced it secured $55 million for its Series B round of funding. Named after the father of the company's founder, Francis Medical uses water vapor energy technology totransfer thermal energy to cancerous tissue in the prostate.
Separately, Minneapolis-based Flywheel announced it is using $22 million in fresh capital to acquire St. Louis based Radiologics.
Combined under the Flywheel name, the business will now have expanded infrastructure to connect "any research organization or data set across academia, life sciences, clinical and medical artificial intelligence," according to a company statement.
Francis Medical has created an alternative treatment to surgery and radiation, which can lead to to side effects like erectile dysfunction, the company stated. Its device is inserted through the urethra to the prostate, and sterile water stored in the device is then heated to make water vapor, which is emitted in 10-second treatments to a targeted area of the prostate from the tip of a needle-shaped catheter.
Francis Medical is seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its device and is scheduled to begin enrollment for a clinical study inAugust. Francis Medical has now raised $80 million since its inception in 2018. The new round of funding was led by Tennessee-based Solas BioVentures.
Flywheel's Series C round was led by Texas-based 8VC, and included investment from Minneapolis venture firm Great North Ventures.
"Big data plays a pivotal role in health care innovation, and realizing the full potential of innovation requires better data management," Jim Olson, Flywheel CEO, said in a statement.
The combined capabilities of Flywheel and Radiologics will make it possible "for the smallest labs to collaborate with the largest academic medical centers and commercial enterprises," Olson said.
The two funding announcements underscore the interest Minnesota medical and health technology companies are seeing from investors this year.
Through the first six months of the year, $161 million was raised by 61 companies, the highest number of companies raising funds in a first half since 2014, according to Medical Alley, the Golden Valley-based association that supports the state's medical device and health care industries.