A new medical treatment developed at the University of Minnesota to kill cancer cells and uterine fibroids has been snapped up by a New York company interested in buying the full rights if the technology does well.
EmboMedics, a small Maple Grove firm developing the minimally invasive technique invented at the U, has signed an exclusive licensing deal with AngioDynamics Inc. The buyer is a $350 million device firm based in Albany.
AngioDynamics agreed to buy $2 million in preferred stock in EmboMedics up front, with the option of infusing another $9 million plus milestone payments down the road. The agreement gives AngioDynamics an exclusive right to acquire the Twin Cities company if the company's therapy does well in the market. EmboMedics has 10 employees and plans to add another five in the near term, a spokesman said.
The therapy does not yet have clearance from the Food and Drug Administration, but it's already generated some buzz in the local medical device community. Last fall, EmboMedics' ResoSphere was one of the emerging therapies showcased as a finalist at local trade group LifeScience Alley's Technology Leadership Conference.
EmboMedics was formed three years ago to commercialize a technology called "resorbable microspheres," which are used to strategically block off blood flow in blood vessels until the tiny spheres dissolve. The spheres, which are delivered via a thin catheter inserted into an artery, can also be filled with medications that treat the diseased tissue.
In the cancer context, it's intended to be a kind of one-two punch for a tumor that is deeply entwined in blood vessels. Temporarily cutting off the blood supply can stop the growth of the tumor while drugs delivered in the microspheres attack it directly.
EmboMedics' website says it could also be used to treat uterine fibroids and aneurysms. The company intends to submit for FDA clearance by January 2016.
"We believe resorbable microspheres represent the future of embolotherapy, allowing for more options in the treatment of patients, and we are excited about the prospect of bringing this technology to our customers worldwide," AngioDynmics CEO Joseph DeVivo said in a news release.
Embolotherapy is the technique of intentionally blocking off blood flow to certain tissues for therapeutic reasons. Several companies with strong presences in the Twin Cities are players in the field, but LifeScience Alley spokesman Ryan Baird said the news that EmboMedics may be bought by a New York company shouldn't be a cause for concern.
"I don't think it's anything to be worried about," he said. "It's just really good for the university and EmboMedics. We've been hearing from the community quite a bit more over the last year or two that the university has been making strides in updating policies and terms of licensing to be more attractive to the business community. This is just a really good thing to see."