Irvine, Calif.-based biotech company Aviir Inc. announced Tuesday that it had sealed an agreement with investors to raise up to $30 million. The financing includes an initial investment of $10 million and future investments of up to $20 million upon achieving certain milestones. Merck Global Health Innovation Fund led the round. Current investors Bay City Capital, Aberdare Ventures, and New Leaf Venture Partners also participated.
Aviir, Inc., a biotechnology company specializing in cardiac disease assessment, announced that it entered into an agreement with multiple investors to raise up to $30 million in the company’s latest financing round. The financing includes an initial investment of $10 million and future investments of up to $20 million upon achieving certain milestones. The proceeds will be used to fund commercialization of TruRisk(TM), Aviir’s proprietary cardiac risk assessment technology, and additional molecular testing services provided through Aviir Heart Laboratories, based in Irvine, California. Merck Global Health Innovation Fund led the round. Current investors Bay City Capital, Aberdare Ventures, and New Leaf Venture Partners also participated.
“Aviir’s mission is to identify and prevent cardiovascular disease, and subsequent deaths, through proprietary blood tests and treatment plan recommendations,” said Douglas Harrington, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Aviir. “Most people believe that narrowing arteries cause heart attacks, but the truth is that more than 70% of heart attacks are caused by a blood clot in the artery resulting from rupture of unstable plaque, which stops blood flow to the heart. And, while cholesterol is implicated in the development of unstable plaque, more than 50% of people who have a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels.”
He added, “While treatment has improved greatly, detection and prevention lags behind. Heart disease is still the number one killer in the world. Every year in the United States, 5 times more women die from heart attacks than from breast cancer. We aim to change these startling statistics by determining an individual’s risk of experiencing future cardiac events through our groundbreaking risk assessments, enabling them to take preventive action before it is too late. With this substantial financing, we look forward to saving even more lives through our laboratory and disease management services.”
Aviir’s TruRisk(TM) technology consists of a simple blood test that can be ordered by doctors for their patients so they can understand their risk of experiencing a heart attack and be motivated to do something about it. The TruRisk(TM) technology measures the blood levels of 7 proteins associated with the development of unstable plaque. It then uses a complex algorithm to analyze those results and known risk factors to determine an individual’s probability of experiencing a heart attack within the next five years. Aviir will also be offering doctors and cardiologists of these high-risk patients individualized recommendations for lifestyle changes aimed at mitigating their risk and improving their heart health.
Inverness Advisors, a division of KEMA Partners LLC, acted as exclusive placement agent and Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth acted as legal counsel to Aviir for this financing and transaction.
About Cardiovascular Disease
With over 80 million people in the United States currently having some form of cardiovascular disease, it is the leading cause of death in the United States with more than 400,000 losing their lives each year. Of the greater than 1.2 million heart attacks per year, many of the afflicted individuals were not even aware that they were at risk. Cardiovascular disease is the single leading cause of death for women in America and most developed countries. With this number expected to grow substantially, the health economic burden is staggering. In 2010, it was estimated that the combined direct and indirect costs associated with cardiovascular disease were $444 billion. Each heart attack that is prevented can reduce healthcare spending by $760,000 to $1 million.
Aviir was founded in 2005 by cardiologists and scientists from the Stanford University School of Medicine to focus on discovery, development and commercialization of innovative diagnostic tests. The biotechnology company specializes in developing proprietary diagnostic tests that will assist in identifying patients that are truly at high risk for the development of a cardiac event. Aviir’s proprietary TruRisk(TM) assessments objectively identify, by a simple blood draw, individuals who are at a high risk of a cardiac event over the next five years. Aviir’s CLIA laboratory (Irvine, CA) complements these novel tests with a wide range of additional tests for risk assessment and therapeutic monitoring of cardiovascular disease and related metabolic disorders — including pharmacogenomic and other genetic tests. The company has adopted a unique clinical laboratory service model to provide physicians better diagnostic tools that improve cardiovascular health of their patients. The company is privately owned and funded by leading life science venture capital firms.