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Metavention Completes $65M Funding Round, Hires New CEO

Todd Berg, who led local medical device company Torax Medical to a sale last year, is taking over as CEO of Metavention.

Metavention announced Monday the closure of its Series C financing round, in which it raised $65 million to help cover the costs of a new clinical trial testing its Type 2 Diabetes management device.
 
Over the last several years, Eden Prairie-based Metavention has been developing a minimally invasive system that ablates, or essentially burns away, nerves leading to the metabolic organs like the liver or pancreas. An overactive sympathetic nervous system is believed to be a cause of high glucose levels among Type 2 Diabetes patients.
 
On its website, Metavention said recent human and animal studies have shown that targeted ablation of these nerves has allowed “the body to become less resistant to insulin as well as to produce more insulin, thus treating both root causes of Type 2 Diabetes.”
 
The procedure Metavention is developing, known as a Metabolic Neuromodulation Therapy (MNT), does not require general anesthesia, the company said. Surgeons instead make a small puncture in the femoral artery and use a radiofrequency energy tool to disable the problematic nerves. Altogether, the procedure lasts about one hour and test patients have been discharged from the hospital the following day.
 
According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 30 million Americans, or roughly 9 percent of the population, live with Type 2 Diabetes. About 80,000 death certificates in the U.S. in 2015 listed diabetes as the underlying cause of death, making it the nation’s seventh leading cause of death that year.
 
Metavention is calling its next clinical trial the “phase 2 study,” which, if successful, will lead to a third phase of testing its procedure on a larger set of patients. If both trials net positive results, the next step for Metavention would be to submit their system to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for market approval.
 
Helping Metavention achieve FDA approval will be Todd Berg, who the company said Monday would be taking over as CEO. Berg comes from Torax Medical, an obesity device maker from Shoreview, that he headed as CEO until last year when the company sold to Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson.
 
“I am honored to be joining the accomplished Metavention at this pivotal stage,” Berg said in prepared remarks.
 
Berg is taking over the CEO chair for Dr. Bobak Azamian, the founder, president and chief medical officer of Metavention.
 
In a statement, Dr. Azamian said the company’s successful financing round and recruitment of Berg only “further validates the transformative potential” of Metavention’s technology.
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