Healthcare Venture Capital

BÂRRX Medical

In healthcare on July 14, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Today, I am pleased to announce Highland’s recent investment in BÂRRX Medical, a growth stage medical technology company based in the Bay Area. Read more details here.

BÂRRX sells an FDA-cleared endoscopic device for the treatment of Barrett’s Esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition.  The team at BÂRRX has done a truly amazing job generating rigorous clinical data that is unheard of in venture-backed companies.

The crown jewel of this data is BÂRRX’s New England Journal of Medicine publication last summer showing dramatic response rates to their HALO procedure.  For those of you who enjoy reading journal articles, check out this recent review article of Barrett’s Esophagus and the evidence supporting widespread use of the BÂRRX HALO procedure.

Don’t take my word for it – watch my medical school mentor Dr. Oz talking about Barrett’s Esophagus and the BÂRRX procedure. Or the discussions these patients are having about the BÂRRX therapy. Or the dozens of news stories and patient testimonials about BÂRRX’s HALO treatment for Barrett’s Esophagus.

Barrett’s is an irritation of the esophageal lining that is thought to be caused by GERD and impacts millions of people in the US alone. If left untreated, Barrett’s can progress to esophageal cancer – which has an 85% mortality rate at 5 years and a treatment (esophagectomy – removal of a large portion of the esophagus) that is obviously terrible for a patient’s quality of life.

What’s most frightening is that Esophageal Cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the US over the last 30 years – almost a 5x greater increase in incidence versus the next closest cancer.  And it’s starting to impact people in the news: Hosni Mubarak, Christopher Hitchens in the *last week* alone.

It is rare to find a private medtech company with top notch management, FDA-approved products, a large and growing market, A+ clinical data, strong procedure growth, and focused on high unmet medical needs.  It is even more rare to find any medical therapy that actually helps to prevent cancer progression.

Going back to the early days of Highland, we have focused on game-changing medical technologies such as Origin MedSystems (Laparoscopic surgery – acquired by Eli Lilly / Guidant) and Conor MedSystems (Drug eluting stents – IPO, acquired by J&J).

We are so happy to be joining the BÂRRX team and to be working with Greg Barrett, Dr. David Utley and the whole gang as they work tirelessly with doctors, patients, and health insurers to get the good word out about the dramatic proven benefits of the HALO procedure.