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PRESS RELEASE: Beringea Invests in Karmanos Cancer Institute Spinoff Delphinus Medical Technologies
May 25, 2010
DETROIT — Beringea, Michigan’s largest venture capital firm, has invested in Delphinus Medical Technologies, a spinoff from the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit and developer of SoftVue, an alternative to mammography for breast cancer detection, risk evaluation and treatment monitoring.
Beringea’s investment, which was made through its InvestMichigan! Growth Capital Fund and part of an $8 million Series A financing round, will fund the commercialization of the company’s breast cancer screening technology. Beringea co-led the round, joined by lead investor Arboretum Ventures, North Coast Technology Investors and the Wolverine Venture Fund.
“We’re very grateful for this venture capital commitment,” said William Greenway, CEO of Delphinus. “This will allow Delphinus to hire approximately 20 staff this year to fill highly technical engineering system and software positions to design a SoftVue system for commercialization, and eventually grow to 50 - 100 positions within the next three to five years.”
The SoftVue system does not involve radiation or compression. Instead, the breast is submerged in warm water and an ultrasound ring surrounds the breast and captures detailed, three-dimensional images through the use of sound waves. The detailed images generated allow the radiologist to make an accurate breast cancer diagnosis. The results are similar to MRI; however the SoftVue system takes only minutes and costs much less. The system is also able to perform repeated imaging, a necessary tool for treatment monitoring.
Unlike mammography, SoftVue can effectively differentiate benign from malignant masses in breasts, helping to reduce the number of false positives and thereby reduce unnecessary biopsies. In addition, through its three-dimensional capabilities, SoftVue can accurately measure breast density, a known risk factor for developing breast cancer, as well as detect many early stages of breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue, which is often not picked up by mammography.
"We are highly interested in medical technologies that result in better patient care while removing costs from the health care system. The Delphinus SoftVue system achieves these objectives through superior accuracy and the potential to eliminate up to two million unnecessary breast biopsies per year, which account for $2 billion in annual health care expenditures worldwide.”
“We are very pleased to play a role in commercializing the Delphinus SoftVue system,” said Paul McCreadie, principal, Arboretum Ventures. “This diagnostic ultrasound technology presents a great opportunity to advance the current standards for early breast cancer detection without the risks and costs associated with other imaging modalities. Delphinus CEO Bill Greenway and his team of experts will be moving quickly to bring this life-saving technology to patients.”
In 2009, the FDA reported that there was approximately 37 million mammography procedures performed — the current standard for breast cancer screening. Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women.
“I commend the Delphinus team, their tireless commitment and research with SoftVue to prove its effectiveness in detecting breast cancer in its earliest stage, especially in women with dense breast tissue,” said Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. “This is an exciting milestone, 10 years in the making, and I am confident that Drs. Duric and Littrup, along with Bill Greenway, will continue their due diligence with the SoftVue system which shows great promise in the fight against breast cancer.”
Beringea, LLC provides equity and/or mezzanine debt to small- and-middle market companies. The Firm, which includes Michigan-based Beringea, LLC and its London, UK office Beringea LLP, invests in portfolio companies operating in a range of sectors, including health care, clean technology, manufacturing, media, Internet technologies and specialized consumer products.
With flexible capital solutions, extensive investing experience and offices in the U.S. and UK, Beringea’s team offers its portfolio companies the resources to grow their businesses and create value for shareholders. For more information, visit www.beringea.com.
In the United States of America, Beringea operates as an SEC-registered investment advisor, Beringea, LLC. In the United Kingdom, this document is issued by Beringea LLP, a firm authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Beringea LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with company number OC342919, and its registered office is at 39 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LT, UK. This document is intended solely to provide information regarding Beringea’s potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies.
About the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Located in mid-town Detroit, Michigan, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute is one of 40 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Caring for nearly 6,000 new patients annually on a budget of $216 million, conducting more than 700 cancer-specific scientific investigation programs and clinical trials, Karmanos is among the nation’s best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including nearly 300 physicians and researchers on faculty at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, Karmanos strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer. Its long-term partnership with the WSU School of Medicine enhances the collaboration of critical research and academics related to cancer care. Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., is the Institute’s president and chief executive officer. Karmanos is southeastern Michigan’s most preferred hospital for cancer care according to annual surveys conducted by the National Research Corporation. For more information call 1-800-KARMANOS or go to www.karmanos.org.