Leap Medical Inc., a Montreal-based medical device company focused on the rapid detection of brain injuries and infection, has raised C$1.025 million in new VC funding. Backers include MSBi Valorisation, BDC Venture Capital and GO Capital Fund.
Leap Medical Inc., a privately held Medical Device company, announced today that it has successfully secured seed financing in the amount of $1.025 million (Canadian dollars) to develop its innovative technology for the rapid detection of brain injuries and infection. The round, co-led by MSBi Valorisation and investors BDC Venture Capital and GO Capital Fund, should enable the company to complete initial human validation of its platform technology. The round was also supported by a grant from the Quebec Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade (Ministère du Développement économique, Innovation et Exportation – MDEIE) and a loan from the CQVB (Centre québécois de valorisation des biotechnologies).
The company has also negotiated an option agreement with McGill University (Montreal) for exclusive worldwide license rights to develop and commercialise products based on its pioneering photonics research. McGill’s technology is the first to exploit the properties of an evanescent field to non-invasively analyze biofluids located several centimetres behind outer tissue layers.
“Leap Medical is an excellent example of leveraging both venture funds and government resources to create a setting that, in the hands of experienced managers, significantly increases the likelihood for a successful transition of University technology to industry”, commented Etienne Lagacé, Director of Medical Devices, at MSBi Valorisation. “We are very proud to be a part of the team.”
“BDC Venture Capital and GO Capital Fund are excited to be associated with Leap Medical”, said Ela Borenstein, Director of Technology Seed Investments. “With its experienced management team and a rich pipeline of innovative products, they are poised to become a significant player in the Medical Device arena.”
Each year, millions of patients are admitted to Emergency Departments throughout the world with head injuries and severe or persistent headaches. Physicians are concerned that these symptoms may be due to brain injuries or infection. Both conditions are considered medical emergencies as they can cause permanent brain damage if not diagnosed and treated rapidly. The current standards of care, a CT-Scan of the head or a lumbar puncture (removal of cerebrospinal fluid using a needle inserted in the base of the spine), are invasive, costly, and impractical. Leap Medical’s point of care solution is completely non-invasive and requires very little time to perform.
The underlying technology is based on the pioneering research of Dr. David Burns, Professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Experimental Medicine at McGill University. “We have been exploring this technology for several years. The prospect of translating experimental technology into medical solutions that can impact the quality of life of patients is rewarding”, said Dr. Burns.
“We are extremely happy to have had the support of the top fund managers, lenders, and government program managers in the province.” said Victor Lanzo, President and CEO of Leap Medical. “This investment will allow us to de-risk the technology and put in place a strategic plan to develop world-class solutions in the medical devices sector.”
About the Technology
This is the first technology to exploit the properties of an evanescent field for the non-invasive analysis of biofluids located several centimetres behind an outer tissue layer. Briefly, a light source is directed onto a scattering surface (such as the skull), and is internally reflected within the skull in a manner similar to the way that light travels through a fibre optic cable. This internal reflection generates a wave of energy out of the far side of the scattering layer, called an evanescent field. The evanescent field interacts with the layers of tissue beneath the skull and affects the properties of the light that is internally reflected. An external detector receives the reflected light and the signal is processed to extract the characteristics of the different (deep) tissues encountered. Thus, by shining a non-invasive source of light onto the external surface of the head, biological markers that are contained many layers underneath can be identified and measured – all without risk to the patient.
About Leap Medical Inc.
Leap Medical, a McGill University spin-off, is a Medical Device company dedicated to improving patient outcomes. The underlying technology for its first product, to non-invasively detect brain injuries and infections, was developed over a period of several years at McGill University in Montreal. The company is currently focused on transitioning the core technology from its academic setting to an industrial one, and intends to complete its human clinical testing over the next 18 months. Leap Medical is in the business of designing, developing, manufacturing, and marketing products that provide the earliest possible indicators of a patient’s medical condition.
About BDC Venture Capital
BDC Venture Capital has been involved in venture capital since 1975 and is a major venture capital investor in Canada. Active at every stage of the company’s development cycle, from seed through expansion, BDC Venture Capital focuses on technology-based businesses that have high growth potential and that are positioned to become dominant players in their markets. To date, it has invested in more than 400 companies with investments totalling over $1.16 billion in the life sciences, telecommunications, information and advanced technology sectors, as well as commitments of $253 million in 19 funds. Visit www.bdc.ca for more information.
About GO Capital Fund, L.P.
GO Capital Fund, L.P. is a $50 million venture capital fund that invests in Quebec seed-stage technology firms in the fields of cleantech, information technologies and life sciences. GO Capital is managed by its General Partner, the Business Development Bank of Canada.
About MSBi Valorisation
MSBi Valorisation (”MSBiV”) provides its academic partners and affiliated entities, the financial resources and complementary expertise needed to accelerate and facilitate the commercialization of high potential technologies. Partner institutions include McGill University, Université de Sherbrooke and Bishop’s University, as well as their affiliated hospitals, research institutes and technology transfer entities. MSBiV brings industry knowledge and relationships to the existing effort of bridging the gap between discoveries resulting from university research and the marketplace. For more information, please visit http://www.msbiv.ca.
CQVB aims to stimulate and support technology transfer and innovation within small to medium-sized bio-industry companies in Québec. CQVB is a technology transfer organization supported by the Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation du Québec (MDEIE). (www.cqvb.qc.ca).
About McGill University.
McGill University, founded in Montreal, Que., in 1821, is Canada’s leading post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 10 professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 35,000 students. McGill attracts students from more than 150 countries around the world. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English – including 6,200 francophones – with more than 6,800 international students making up almost 20 per cent of the student body.