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AventaMed to Achieve FDA Clearance with Help of €1.8M HBAN-Backed Funding

HBAN (Halo Business Angel Network), the all-island organisation responsible for the promotion of business angel investment and a joint initiative of Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland, today announces a €1.8 million investment in Cork-based medtech company, AventaMed. The investment – which includes €1.6 million angel funding, the largest single HBAN angel investment to date – will fund AventaMed through FDA (Food and Drug Administration) clearance and commercialisation of the Solo Tympanostomy Tube Device (Solo TTD) which enables the quick and simple insertion of ear grommets.

The three HBAN angel syndicates – the HBAN MedTech Syndicate, Boole Investment Syndicate and Irrus Investments, together with Enterprise Ireland and independent angel investors completed this round which is HBAN’s largest angel investment to date, both in terms of funding and the number of angels involved.

AventaMed, a spin-out company from Cork Institute of Technology, was set up by co-Founders Olive O’Driscoll and John Vaughan in 2013 to find a method of inserting ear tubes, or grommets, in children without requiring a general anaesthetic. The insertion of grommets is used to treat recurring ear infections and hearing loss in children and adults. It is one of the most common surgeries carried out on children worldwide. AventaMed expects the Solo TTD to have widespread appeal globally.

The five-strong company has spent the last four years developing the all in one handheld Solo device which simplifies the implantation process, reduces costs and improves patient outcomes. AventaMed is now looking to enter the US market, for which it requires FDA clearance.

This is the second round of angel and Enterprise Ireland funding that AventaMed has received. In 2015, it raised €1.3 million and successfully completed clinical trials and obtained European regulatory approval, the CE mark, to commercialise the device in Europe.

Together, the angels will provide AventaMed not only with the investment, but also the experience and knowledge they have gained from their own successes in the medical devices and healthcare industries. The angel funding is led by Jack Cashman, who was also involved in the 2015 funding round. With 30 years’ of international experience in healthcare, he previously financed and managed, as Chairman, two IPOs in the healthcare industry, which resulted in returns on investment of 500% and 700%.

Olive O’Driscoll, co-founder and CEO, AventaMed, said: “We are already treating patients in Europe with the Solo device; both parents and surgeons have experienced first-hand the benefits of placing grommets without the need for a full general anaesthetic. We are thrilled to close this investment round as it will enable AventaMed to obtain FDA clearance for the device so that patients in the USA may also benefit from our innovative technology.

“A lot of our investors come from very senior positions in multinational and Irish medical device and healthcare companies. They are always available to AventaMed to offer expert advice and make critical commercial introductions, which is hugely valuable as we execute our commercialisation strategy in Europe and the USA’.

Jack Cashman, AventaMed chairman, lead angel and member of HBAN MedTech Syndicate & Irrus Investments, said: “I first met the co-founders in 2014 and was very impressed by the team and the device that they had developed. From a very early stage, they showed the potential to grow from a small research project to a lucrative medical devices Company, with pipeline products already on the drawing board.

“After the first round of funding I was asked by the co-founders to take on the role of Chairperson and I readily agreed. The other investors and I are providing AventaMed with ‘smart money’, using our knowledge of the medical devices and wider healthcare industries to assist the company and its commercial traction.”

John Phelan, national director, HBAN, said: “This is a great milestone both for AventaMed and HBAN. It not only reflects AventaMed’s great success in the four years it has been in operation, but also the changing angel investing landscape.

“We saw a significant increase in angel investment last year – rising more than 25% from €10.8 million in 2015 to €13.6 million. That is because we only introduce angels to high-potential businesses like AventaMed that we have identified as having the ability to scale internationally. That’s a big pull for angel investors and it is why last year, one-in-four businesses that pitched to HBAN-registered angels received funding.”

Karen Cohalan, Manager Commercial Evaluation and Equity, Enterprise Ireland said: “Ireland continues to rapidly grow as a leading global health and life sciences hub and I would like to congratulate AventaMed on their success in raising their second round of funding which will assist in providing the healthcare market with an innovative and effective scalable product, simplifying the implantation process of inserting ear tubes in children, and thereby reducing costs and improving patient outcomes. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with the AventaMed team to drive the further development and growth of their product in global markets.”