CerviLenz Inc., a Cleveland-based maker of disposable devices used to predict the risk of preterm birth in pregnant women, has raised $4 million in first-round funding. Arboretum Ventures led the round, and was joined by Chrysalis Ventures.
CerviLenz Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of a disposable device used to predict the risk of preterm birth in pregnant women, announced today that it has raised $4 million in the company’s initial round of venture funding. Ann Arbor, MI-based Arboretum Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on the healthcare sector, led the round. Louisville, KY-based Chrysalis Ventures, a leading source of equity capital for young growth companies in the Midwest and South, co-invested in the financing.
The CerviLenz™ product is a low-cost, simple, disposable medical device used to measure the length of a woman’s cervix during pregnancy. While a short cervix is the single best predictor of preterm birth risk in pregnant women, cervical length could only be accurately assessed by a specialized and expensive ultrasound procedure. Now, the patented and FDA-cleared CerviLenz device will offer the OB-GYN a simple method to accurately measure cervical length during a routine exam.
The medical field recognizes preterm birth as a major problem that burdens the healthcare system with significant costs. Over 540,000 babies (almost 13% of all live births) are born prematurely in the United States every year, more than one per minute. In addition to the emotional burden on the parents and families, preterm birth represents a tremendous healthcare cost. In 2005, premature births cost the United States at least $26.2 billion, or more than $51,000 for each preterm infant. Now, new treatment options are emerging that could substantially reduce the risk of preterm birth in women with a short cervix, and begin to reduce the overall rate of preterm birth. The simple and cost effective CerviLenz device promises to allow any Obstetrician or Midwife to accurately measure cervical length during a routine exam, and easily identify an increased risk of preterm birth.
“We are delighted to partner with Arboretum and Chrysalis for this important round of early financing,” said Dean Koch, CEO of CerviLenz. “In addition to capital, they bring valuable strategic insight and healthcare experience as we accelerate our growth in the obstetrics market. The CerviLenz device has the potential to help reduce the incidence of preterm birth, and this capital infusion will help us complete currently ongoing clinical studies and allow us to bring this important device to the market.” Prior to CerviLenz, Mr. Koch worked as a senior sales and marketing executive at Adeza Biomedical, a recognized leader in preterm birth prediction and prevention, which was acquired by Cytyc in 2007, and is now part of Hologic Inc.
“CerviLenz’s timing is perfect. The emerging therapies that positively impact preterm birth have created a huge need for an easy-to-use, inexpensive screening technology to identify women at risk for preterm birth. The Company is in the right place at the right time with the right product,” said Tim Petersen, Managing Director of Arboretum Ventures.
According to Koleman Karleski, Managing Director of Chrysalis, “Chrysalis continues to focus on healthcare companies that create value by either enhancing productivity or significantly reducing medical costs. We believe CerviLenz fulfills both of these investment themes by creating a new, more cost-efficient standard of care which makes it a great fit for our rapidly growing portfolio of healthcare companies.”
Mr. Petersen and Mr. Karleski will serve on the company’s board of directors.
About CerviLenz Inc.
CerviLenz is a Cleveland, OH-based manufacturer and distributor of a patented, single-use, disposable, FDA-cleared medical device for measuring cervical length to determine the risk of preterm birth in pregnant women. CerviLenz received seed financing from JumpStart Ventures, a nationally-recognized venture development organization also based in Cleveland. For more information, please visit www.cervilenzinc.com.
About Arboretum Ventures
Arboretum Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm specializing in the healthcare sector. Arboretum focuses primarily on investments in medical technology and healthcare services. Arboretum invests throughout the United States, with a special interest in the Midwest region. Founded in 2002 and located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Arboretum currently manages $95 million in capital. For more information, please visit www.arboretumvc.com
About Chrysalis Ventures
Founded in 1993, Chrysalis Ventures is the premier venture capital firm in Mid-America, managing one of the region’s largest funds for early-stage and growth investments. Chrysalis invests primarily in early-stage and expansion-stage companies in healthcare services and technology, media and communications, and emerging trends and technologies. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Chrysalis has approximately $400 million under management and has made investments in over 60 companies. For more information, please visit www.chrysalisventures.com.