Medtronic Invests in Spinoff, which Raised $14.5M

Inspire Medical Systems will use its new funding to provide follow-up support to clinical trial patients, submit the technology for U.S. regulatory approval, and expand its commercial activities in Europe.

Inspire Medical Systems announced Friday that it completed a $14.5 million round of financing, which includes a first-time investment from Fridley-based Medtronic, Inc., from which it spun out in 2007.

The Maple Grove-based company, which has developed an implantable neurostimulation device to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), said that the funds will be used to provide follow-up support to clinical trial patients, submit the technology for U.S. regulatory approval, and expand its commercial activities in Europe.

OSA involves repeated episodes of upper airway collapse during sleep. Patients with OSA frequently stop breathing for a minute or longer during their sleep, which leads to recurrent awakening. This causes daytime fatigue as well as increased risk for serious medical conditions such as heart attack and stroke.

Inspire developed its Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) therapy to prevent airway obstruction from occurring. While the patient sleeps, the therapy stimulates the muscles at the base of the tongue to prevent it from collapsing and obstructing his or her airway. The patient can activate the therapy using a handheld programmer.

According to MedCity News, Inspire has raised a total of $37 million, including the just-closed round of financing.

The closure of the latest round was announced simultaneously with the completion of Inspire's patient enrollment and device implants in its STAR (Stimulation Therapy for Apnea Reduction) pivotal trial. This study will test the safety and effectiveness of UAS therapy in patients with moderate to severe OSA and is being conducted at medical centers across the United States and Europe.

Inspire is monitoring the patients and will use the results as the basis for a pre-market approval application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which it plans to submit in early 2013.

According to Inspire, OSA affects more than 15 million people in the United States alone.

“A substantial number of these patients are unable to achieve consistent benefit from conservative therapies,” Inspire President and CEO Tim Herbert said in a statement.

He added: “Our focus now is to gain regulatory approvals and to secure reimbursement mechanisms so that this patient group will have access to our breakthrough technology.”

In addition to Medtronic, TGap Ventures is another first-time Inspire investor that participated in the recently completed round of financing. Returning investors include Leiner Perkins Caufiels & Byers, US Venture Partners, Synergy Life Science Partners, and GDN Holdings.