Reverse Pitch offers area entrepreneurs a shot at solving health care providers' conundrums

Human Health published Mon, 2015-02-23 18:00

The Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator is hosting a reverse pitch offering area entrepreneurs a shot at solving health care providers' conundrums.

The accelerator, led by Techstars of Boulder, Colo., will welcome professionals from the University of Kansas Medical Center to share their organization's problems 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 8 at the Crossroads Arts District facility. Organizers hope to attract entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, medical students, administrators and researchers to the event, which aims to not only to recruit talent to the accelerator's 2015 program, but also build a relationship with KU.

"We're really excited about this," said John Fein, managing director of the accelerator. "It's a great opportunity for the folks at KU Med to present some of the problems they're seeing that they need solutions for. And on the flip side, of course, it's a great opportunity for health care companies to come and listen to the problems and see if they're interested in providing solutions.

The KBA is one of the sponsors of this event.  For more information go to Reverse Pitch.

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Meet us in San Francisco!

General published Mon, 2015-02-23 17:58

KBA staff will be attending the 2014 LES Meeting October 5 - 7th, networking with more than 700 IP and licensing professionals from private companies and universities. In addition, we will be at the BIO Investor Forum on October 8th. Contact Tom Krol if you'd like to set up a meeting with us at one of these conferences.

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Kansas City Business Journal: new mission of the KBA

General published Mon, 2015-02-23 17:56

A decade after the birth of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, the organization that has served as a bedrock for the region’s bioscience initiatives has been quietly dismantled and rebuilt with a new, very different mission: self-preservation.

The KBA, which catalyzed the region’s growth by providing seed money for projects ranging from the construction of wet-lab space to attracting a billion-dollar national laboratory to Kansas, now is focused on turning a profit as a venture capital fund.

Click Here for the full story from reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel.

 

 

 

 

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InvestMidwest starts application process for entrepreneurs

General published Mon, 2015-02-23 17:53

The InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum is accepting applications from entrepreneurs with high-growth companies hoping to raise capital from investors. The KBA is a co-sponsor of this annual event.

The event is April 1-2, 2015, at  the Sheraton Kansas City at Crown Center and typically attracts about 300 attendees and 45 presenting companies. It's a showcase for the best new high-growth businesses in the Midwest seeking growth capital. Presentations last about 10 minutes each.

Companies presenting at the previous 15 events raised more than $1 billion.

"We are seeking applications from throughout the Midwest from high-growth companies in search of substantial investment to punch their growth to a new level," Executive Director Christine Walsh said in a release. "We're not talking slow, organic growth. We're looking for fast-track companies."

The early application deadline ends Nov. 14. The late deadline is Jan. 16. Companies applying early are given deeper consideration by the selection committee, which will have more time to ask questions and seek clarification. Click the logo below for more information.

 

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Aratana licenses treatment for dogs with atopic dermatitis

Animal Health published Mon, 2015-02-23 17:50

Aratana Therapeutics Inc. has finalized a global licensing agreement with Ukraine-based Atopix Therapeutics Ltd. to develop and commercialize a drug for dogs to treat atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema.

Atopix is continuing to study the drug's use in humans to treat moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and is currently in a Phase 2 study of its drug, OC459.

"We believe this product fits nicely into our portfolio of companion animal therapeutics," Aratana CEO Steven St. Peter said in a release. "We continue to be committed to developing products that target the underlying cause of the disease rather than just the symptoms."

The Kansas City, Kan., animal health company (Nasdaq: PETX) paid $1 million to Atopix for the rights to all non-human health applications. Atopix will receive additional payments, such as royalties, as Aratana reaches "regulatory milestones."

- Leslie Collins,  Kansas City Business Journal

 

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Advanced Animal Diagnostics Closes $15 Million in Oversubscribed Series C Funding

Animal Health published Mon, 2015-02-23 17:46

DURHAM, NC — December 8, 2014 — Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD) announced today the close of a $15 million Series C round of equity financing. The financing was co-led by the Kansas Bioscience Authority and CultivianSandbox and included Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (LabCorp®) (NYSE: LH), Middleland Capital, and existing investors Intersouth Partners, Novartis Venture Funds and private individuals. The investment will allow AAD to accelerate the commercialization of its current product offering, QScout® MLD (milk leukocyte differential) test, while also expanding the company’s product line.

AAD develops on-farm diagnostic technologies that change the way livestock producers manage animal health and costly diseases. The company launched its first commercial products, QScout MLD test and QScout Farm Lab, in 2013 to detect subclinical mastitis in dairy cows. Large-scale trials on commercial dairies demonstrated that the technology significantly improves producers’ financial returns by preventing milk and reproductive losses, safeguarding animal health through earlier detection and promoting more judicious use of antibiotics. 

“Investors and our growing number of customers see value in rapid, on-farm diagnostic information that hasn’t existed before,” said Joy Parr Drach, AAD president and CEO. “This new information allows producers to make more accurate management decisions to improve animal health and their bottom line while ensuring they use antibiotics only when needed to provide the best quality product for consumers.”

AAD customer John Freund of Son-Bow Farms in Wisconsin said QScout MLD is a significant improvement over conventional tests. “QScout MLD gives us a better, consistent approach for diagnosing subclinical mastitis, and it is more efficient for our labor flow compared to on-farm culture tests. The test’s objective results create a tremendous opportunity to address an issue, improve the quality of milk going into the tank, and provide a better product for consumers.”

The company expects to advance the development of additional livestock tests for dairy and beef markets, invest in production and manufacturing, and expand commercial efforts for new and existing customers with this financing.

About Advanced Animal Diagnostics
Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD), Durham, N.C., provides livestock producers with diagnostics that improve profitability and empower more precise care of animals so they live healthier, more productive lives. AAD is committed to researching, developing and commercializing the industry’s most reliable, on-farm diagnostic tests, such as QScout MLD for early detection of subclinical mastitis in dairy cows. With its diagnostic offerings, the company aims to empower real-time management decisions that increase productivity, prevent losses, improve animal welfare and protect the food supply. For more information, visit www.QScoutLab.com or call 1-855 Q2COUNT.

About the Investors:

Kansas Bioscience Authority
Kansas Bioscience Authority is a venture investor focused in agribusiness, animal health, and human health innovations. The team brings deep sector expertise and co-investors together to accelerate bioscience company growth generating results for the entrepreneur, the investor, Kansas and the world. For more information, please visit www.kansasbioauthority.org.

Cultivian Sandbox
Cultivian Sandbox is a venture capital fund focused on high-technology opportunities in the food and agricultural sectors. Cultivian Sandbox operates from the Midwest, which hosts the world’s greatest concentration of public and private R&D spending for food and agricultural markets. Cultivian Sandbox works closely with the management of emerging technology companies to bring cutting-edge technology solutions to market. The fund focuses on investments in the following areas: animal health, biobased products and processes, environmental technologies, food safety, human wellness, and production technologies. For more information, please visit www.cultiviansbx.com. 

LabCorp
Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (LabCorp®) (NYSE: LH), an S&P 500 company, is a pioneer in commercializing new diagnostic technologies and the first in its industry to embrace genomic testing. With annual revenues of $5.8 billion in 2013, over 34,000 employees worldwide, and more than 220,000 clients, LabCorp offers more than 4,000 tests ranging from routine blood analyses to reproductive genetics to companion diagnostics. LabCorp furthers its scientific expertise and innovative clinical testing technology through its LabCorp Specialty Testing Group:  The Center for Molecular Biology and Pathology, National Genetics Institute, ViroMed Laboratories, Inc, The Center for Esoteric Testing, Litholink Corporation, Integrated Genetics, Integrated Oncology, Dianon Pathology, Monogram Biosciences, Inc, Colorado Coagulation, Cellmark Forensics, MedTox, and Endocrine Sciences.  LabCorp conducts clinical trials testing through its LabCorp Clinical Trials division. LabCorp clients include physicians, government agencies, managed care organizations, hospitals, clinical labs, and pharmaceutical companies. For more information, please visit www.labcorp.com.

Middleland Capital
Middleland Capital is a private investment firm focused on global early-stage technology  opportunities. Leveraging a unique breadth of geographic and industry experience, the firm seeks partnerships with exceptional management teams to commercialize innovative technologies, accelerate growth and build long-term value around the world. For more information, please visit www.middlelandcap.com.

Intersouth Partners 
Intersouth Partners is one of the most active and experienced venture capital firms in the Southeast, having invested in more than 100 private companies. Founded in 1985, Intersouth manages $780 million in seven venture capital limited partnerships, making it the largest venture capital fund in North Carolina and one of the largest in the Southeast. For more information, please visit www.intersouth.com.

Novartis Venture Funds
Established in 1996, the Novartis Venture Fund currently manages over $800 million in committed capital and is invested globally in more than 55 private life sciences companies across biotech, medical devices and diagnostics. As a financially driven corporate life science investor, the Novartis Venture Fund invests in those companies which have the potential to change a core therapeutic field or explore new business areas that will be critical to the patient.  For more information, please visit www.venturefund.novartis.com.

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KBA and KC Animal Health Investment Forum Announce Major Success Story

Animal Health published Mon, 2015-02-23 17:43

The Kansas Bioscience Authority together with the KC Animal Health Corridor is pleased to join Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD) in the recent announcement that the company closed a $15 million Series C round of equity financing. AAD presented in 2009 and 2011 at the KC Animal Health Investment Forum, a global event that has helped early and mid-stage animal health companies raise more than $150 million over the past six years.

“The Animal Health Investment Forum is a one-stop shop for meeting potential partners in the space,” said Joy Parr Drach, president and CEO, Advanced Animal Diagnostics. “This funding is just one example of how relationships we formed there years ago have continued to help AAD as we developed, commercialized and are now expanding our platform to empower producers to make real-time management decisions and rapidly detect disease on-farm.”

AAD develops on-farm diagnostic technologies that change the way livestock producers manage animal health and costly diseases. The company launched its first commercial products, QScout MLD test and QScout Farm Lab, in 2013 to detect subclinical mastitis in dairy cows. Large-scale trials on commercial dairies demonstrated that the technology significantly improves producers’ financial returns by preventing milk and reproductive losses, safeguarding animal health through earlier detection and promoting more judicious use of antibiotics.

The company expects to advance the development of additional livestock tests for dairy and beef markets, invest in production and manufacturing, and expand commercial efforts for new and existing customers with this financing. AAD plans to conduct limited product development research with the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostics Lab in Manhattan, is working with a Lenexa manufacturer to make components of the Qscout Lab, and plans to establish a sales office in Western Kansas to support its current dairy product and future feedlot products.

The financing was co-led by the Kansas Bioscience Authority and Cultivian Sandbox, both  long-time supporters of the KC Animal Health Investment Forum, and included Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (LabCorp®) (NYSE: LH), Middleland Capital, and existing investors Intersouth Partners, Novartis Venture Funds and private individuals. The investment will allow AAD to accelerate the commercialization of its current product offering, QScout® MLD (milk leukocyte differential) test, while also expanding the company’s product line.

“Bringing AAD to the Corridor positions Kansas as a growing dairy state, as well as an innovative state that is bringing new technologies to the dairy market,” said Tony Simpson, managing director, Kansas Bioscience Authority. “The KC Animal Health Investment Forum showcases the most innovative companies in animal health today, and AAD is the second presenting company to receive KBA funding to date.”

“The KC Animal Health Investment Forum is the place where companies can make the right connections to advance their technology,” said Kimberly Young, vice president of biosciences development, Kansas City Area Development Council. “Success stories like AAD is proof that the KC Animal Health Corridor is a major hub for driving innovation into the animal health industry.”

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Animal health company gains $15 million to jumpstart Kansas expansion

Animal Health published Mon, 2015-02-23 17:40

A North Carolina company with ties to the Kansas City regional animal health corridor has obtained $15 million in new financing to jumpstart expansion plans.

The Kansas Bioscience Authority and Cultivian Sandbox, a Chicago-based investment firm, were the lead investors in this latest round of financing for Advanced Animal Diagnostics. The KBA invested $2 million in the venture.

Other investors were LabCorp, Middleland Capital, Intersouth Partners, Novartis Venture Funds, and several individuals.

Based in the Durham, N.C. area, Advanced Animal Diagnostics develops technology aimed at providing more precise care of farm animals so they live healthier, more productive lives.

The company launched its first commercial products in 2013 that focused on dairy cows. According to the company, large-scale tests at commercial dairies demonstrated that the technology, among other outcomes, improved producers’ financial returns by preventing milk and reproductive losses.

Advanced Animal Diagnostics has a high profile in the Kansas City animal health care industry. The firm participated in the 2009 and 2011 KC Animal Health Investment Forum, which helps fledgling animal health companies raise venture capital.

The company said it will use proceeds from the latest funding to boost the development of additional livestock tests for dairy and beef markets.

Advanced Animal Diagnostics said it plans to conduct some product development research with the Kansas State University veterinary lab in Manhattan. It is also working with an unidentified Lenexa company to manufacture components for one of its products, and it plans to open a sales office in western Kansas to support current dairy product and future feedlot products.

“This funding is just one example of how relationships we formed three years ago (at the investment forum) have continued to help AAD,” Joy Parr Drach, the company’s president and chief executive officer said in a statement.

The Kansas Bioscience Authority, which invests in agribusiness, animal health and human health, said this was its first investment in Advanced Animal Diagnostics.

“Bringing AAD to the corridor positions Kansas as a growing dairy state, as well as an innovative state that is bringing new technologies to the dairy market,” Tony Simpson, managing director of the bioscience authority said in the statement.

- by Steve Rosen, The Kansas City Star

 

 


 
 

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KBA to attend 7th Annual Biotech Showcase

General published Mon, 2015-02-23 17:37

The annual JP Morgan HealthCare Conference in San Francisco is, arguably, one of the most significant life science conferences.  Thousands of pharma, biotech, device and healthcare executives, along with tens of thousands of people who want to develop, sell, invest, report, publicize, analyze or seek work, are in San Francisco next week.  The JP Morgan conference itself is primarily comprised of large public companies, with little need for venture capital of the sort we invest.

However, many other meetings and important conferences are held at this same time, and, in the general vicinity of the famed JP Morgan conference.  One of these is the Biotech Showcase, being held just 3 blocks from the actual JP Morgan conference. 

Biotech Showcase 2015 is an investor and partnering conference devoted to providing smaller, nimbler and riskier biotechnology and life sciences companies with an opportunity to present and meet with venture investors, like KBA.  Since Kansas is not known for its venture capital community, it’s always a pleasure to let colleagues know that KBA is a bioscience venture investor in Kansas.  Like other VC investors in the investment stage, we are looking for great new companies. 

I had the opportunity to attend several healthcare investor conferences in 2014.  One of the trends I observed first hand is the high interest in health information technology (IT) and mobile health.  Rooms focused on companies with labels such as “digital health”, “health IT”, “mobile health”, “wireless health”, “eHealth”, “e-Patients”, “wearables”, “telemedicine”, “connected health”, and other similar jargon, have commanded extraordinary attendance rates.  In fact, the rooms could not accommodate the attendees!  Perhaps it is the allure of relatively quick exits and lack of regulatory hurdles that entice investors.  And this isn’t limited to human health.  IT, data and digital means are also finding applications and good business ideas in animal health and agriculture, other areas of interest to KBA.  If attendance is a forerunner of investment dollars, I anticipate much growth in this space.

The Biotech showcase will include some 1500+ attendees and 240+ company presentations; way too many for this life science investor to meet in one week.  And I’m not even talking about the actual JP Morgan conference!   Being in San Francisco next week is a great way to meet business leaders, co-investors, technical and industry experts, and other leaders in healthcare and bioscience. 

I look forward to seeing you somewhere in San Francisco the week of January 12-16!

 

- Tom Krol,  KBA Managing Director

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What does 2015 look like?

General published Mon, 2015-02-23 17:34

I’m now on my way back to Kansas City from San Francisco and “JP Morgan” with my pile of business cards and follow-ups from some really cool people, companies and investors.  I can confirm this is an amazing confluence of “healthcare”.  And it’s global. I also met entrepreneurs and investors from EU countries, Australia, and South America.

The Biotech Showcase, separate from JP Morgan itself, drew some 2000+ attendees and 240+ companies who pitched.  From my estimate, another 1000+ healthcare related folks showed up at the hotel from other conferences and hotels in the region.  This Biotech Showcase is composed of traditional biotech and pharma companies with a smattering of diagnostics, medical devices and animal health companies.  Although health IT and mobile health was not given a track, I met several companies in this space.  And I believe it’s just a matter of time before we see a track for them.

Interestingly, the room that could not accommodate the crowd was the room with the smallest, private, technologically youngest companies.  Of course, that’s where I chose to be when my schedule was not filled with one:one meetings.  Why?  I don’t know exactly, but I surmise that the search for  “diamond in the rough” technologies could be one good reason.

I have to add a few brief comments on the pitches I witnessed.  In a word: “disappointing”.  A colleague who attended the conference as a vendor to pharma-bio companies put it best.  As a sales expert he meant no harm when he said, "I listened to some of the presentations, and I honestly, could not tell why they were presenting, what they were selling, or why it mattered.”  I agree with this comment, although there were several good pitches, several of which require follow-up.

There was plenty of talk about the robust year of 2014 for life science companies.  First, the record setting number of life science IPO’s in 2014 came in at 79.  And not to be overshadowed, life sciences in 2014 also set records for both numbers (3,141) and dollars ($383 billion) for M&A and licensing deals per Thomson Reuters Recap.  So, most of the conference talk was quite optimistic.  In fact, the law-firm hosted receptions were noted to be more numerous and more extravagant than ever before; perhaps a result of the aforementioned numbers.

So, what does 2015 look like?  I heard naysayers indicate that this was a bubble and would soon end in dramatic fashion.  I also heard pathologic optimists indicate there has never been a better time to bet in life sciences.  And the truth lies somewhere between.  There will always be a place for new and disruptive technologies that can extend and improve health and longevity.  But these technologies require forward thinking and innovative leaders and investors to help navigate the sea of change we are living.

Now, off to my follow-ups.

- Tom Krol, KBA Managing Director

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Kansas Bioscience Authority to dramatically increase available funds

General published Mon, 2015-02-23 17:31

By Alyssa Scott, KU Statehouse Wire Service

TOPEKA — The Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA), a venture capital fund covering animal, human and plant health, intends to further invest in the Kansas bioscience sector in 2015 by quadrupling its available funds.

KBA CEO and Chairman Duane Cantrell told the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday that the KBA intends to make $420 million available for corporate investment, which is four times more than between 2009-14. He said KBA is able to quadruple its investment after restructuring.

“We’ve established two investment structures, and for every dollar we put into those structures, we expect two to four other dollars to come in from outside of Kansas,” he said. “In other words, when we put an investment in a company, we expect to get it back with the returns so we can do that again and again, and that’s how we’ve become sustainable.”

To become more effective, the KBA switched to a market-based, self-sustaining financial model two years ago.

“The money is now beginning to come back into the KBA,” Cantrell said. “Prior to two years ago, not a single dime ever walked back in the door of the KBA. In the last two years, $19 million has come back in, $17.7 million of that just last year.”

Sen. Jeff Melcher (R-Leawood) said he is pleased with the changes the KBA has made in how it invests.

“I was a harsh critic of us just giving away money and not expecting anything in return,” Melcher said. “On the other side of the coin, KBA 2.0, I’m fully supportive of it, and I would like us to fully fund it. It’s one of the few things that we fund in government that actually returns something to us that’s greater than what we put into it, and because of that I support it.”

The KBA has five key objectives that are expected to work with the new investment structures to help reach its goal of increasing available capital for the next five years. These include improving the return of investment, investment in opportunities, attracting private equity dollars to Kansas, increasing job availability, and increasing the export of products and services to a global market.

Cantrell said the bioscience sector is a key area of improvement because not only does bioscience work to solve global issues, such as food supply and safety, but it also benefits communities by providing high-quality and high-paying jobs. In addition, it is a relevant field in terms of Kansas’ strengths and resources.

“Basically one third of the global GDP, a $20 billion industry, of animal health is represented in the ‘corridor’ between Columbia, Missouri, to Manhattan, Kansas,” Cantrell said. “There is no other place in the United States, there is no other place in the world, that has that kind of concentration of animal health. Collectively, Kansas is well-positioned, and quite frankly about as well-positioned as any other state in the United States.”

http://www.hayspost.com/2015/01/29/kansas-bioscience-authority-to-dramatically-increase-available-funds/

- Alyssa Scott is a University of Kansas junior from Wichita majoring in journalism and French.

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Proteon Therapeutics rings Nasdaq bell

Human Health published Mon, 2015-02-23 17:11

Roughly four months after becoming a publicly traded company, Proteon Therapeutics Inc. rang the Nasdaq's opening bell.

Founded by Kansas City entrepreneur Nick Franano, the pharmaceuticals company, formerly based in Kansas, opened the exchange Monday morning.

By Bobby Burch, Kansas City Business Journal

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Metactive Closes $2 Million of Additional Series A Financing

Human Health published Mon, 2015-02-23 15:57

OLATHE, Kan. - Feb. 23, 2015 - Metactive Medical Inc. (Metactive), an early-stage company focused on developing embolization devices for the treatment of peripheral vascular and neurovascular diseases, today announced that it has closed on $2 million of additional Series A financing, led by the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA), an existing Metactive investor. Proceeds will be used to continue the development of Metactive's novel embolic devices for occlusion of saccular aneurysms and peripheral arteries and veins. Metactive previously raised $5 million in Series A funding, bringing the total funding raised to date to $7 million.
 

"Metactive has shown immediate, complete and lasting occlusion of large saccular aneurysms with rapid endothelialization of the aneurysm neck in a challenging nonclinical model, as well as similarly robust performance with a peripheral occlusion device," said Tom Krol, Managing Director at KBA and a member of Metactive's board of directors. "Clinicians treat thousands of saccular aneurysms and peripheral arteries and veins each year. We believe that Metactive's devices have the potential to be better for patients, faster and easier for physicians to use, and less expensive for payers."

 

Metactive also announced today the appointment of David Ferrera to its board of directors. Ferrera is currently President and Chief Technology Officer of Blockade Medical and has 20 years of leadership experience in the medical device industry at several market-leading neurovascular firms, including MindFrame, Microvention and Micrus Endovascular.

 

"I am pleased to have the resources to accelerate the development of our novel, potentially life-saving products and to welcome David to our board to help us realize our goal of providing physicians faster, better and less expensive options for vascular occlusion," said F. Nicholas Franano, MD, President and CEO of Metactive.

 

About Peripheral Artery and Aneurysm Embolization

Embolization is a minimally invasive treatment that blocks the flow of blood in selected segments of arteries and veins, enabling physicians to divert blood away from cancerous tumors and other abnormal tissues, as well as from damaged or malformed segments of blood vessels. More than 150,000 peripheral vascular embolization procedures are performed each year worldwide using coils and vascular plugs. Similarly, more than 150,000 cerebral aneurysm embolization procedures are performed worldwide each year using coils and flow-diverting vascular stents. There is currently a need in these markets for endovascular embolization devices that can be placed quickly and easily, with a high degree of precision, and that result in immediate and lasting occlusion.

 

About Metactive Medical

Metactive is developing novel endovascular medical devices for the treatment of neurovascular and peripheral vascular diseases. Metactive's first products enable precise and immediate occlusion and rapid sealing of cerebral aneurysms and other target vessel segments using an over-the-wire microcatheter platform. For more information, please visit www.metactivemedical.com.

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