AngelMD Investor Group Closes Funding Round with Indago

Arthroscopy is one of the most common procedures performed in the United States (almost 5,000 per day), yet its underlying technology has not seen significant change since the first video arthroscope was introduced in the late 1970s. Indago is an Ohio-based company that is making surgery smarter by developing tools for a highly-efficient, tech-enabled surgical suite. The company’s first product, ArthroFree, is a generation-skipping endoscopic camera that eliminates the wires—and their associated risks and inefficiencies—holding back legacy systems.

Today, a group of AngelMD investors announces the completion of a syndicate funding round for Indago as part of the company’s $5.5 million Series A. The funds will be used to finalize development of ArthroFree, submit the device for FDA approval, staff up for market entry, and begin work on the next product in Indago’s portfolio.

“Working alongside AngelMD’s physician leaders to advocate for our vision of the operating room of the future has been remarkable,” said Indago co-founder and CEO Eugene Malinskiy. “We found both physician and non-physician champions at every event and webcast, and now we have a pool of likely first users, as well as knowledgeable resources for current and future products.”

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ArthroFree eliminates expensive consumables, such as fiber optic cables, replacement light bulbs, and sterilization materials that are all required for the current systems. Furthermore, by removing the cables that tether all current arthroscopic cameras to the surgical tower, ArthroFree eliminates the associated trip and fall hazards, fire risks, and vectors for hospital-acquired infections.

“Indago is an innovative company which will revolutionize the world of arthroscopy in the operating room. This is a technological evolution that is long overdue,” said AngelMD Lead Investor Dr. Brian Parsley. “By untethering the arthroscopic hand piece from the light source and cable connections while maintaining high quality imagery and improving efficiency will be a game-changer in the industry. AngelMD gave me an opportunity to invest in this exciting new company and be a part of next wave of change in my operating area.”

Indago’s ArthroFree system has fewer components to set up versus the competition and is drop-in compatible with existing systems. This compatibility removes the need for new training, new workflows, or other disruptions to current processes.

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AngelMD’s Q3 Private Healthcare Investment Report

Each quarter, AngelMD Premium members receive a full report that details what’s been happening in the world of private healthcare investment. This preview of the AngelMD Private Healthcare Investment Report is being provided to all members.

The State of Healthcare Funding

Our Q3 report comes from AngelMD’s individual evaluation of over 500 SEC Form D filings. We have eliminated filings that were not directly involved with healthcare, filings from large, public companies, and filings related to private equity buyouts.

The overall number of investments dropped from Q2 to Q3. However, the total amount of money raised grew significantly, and individual investment sizes averaged over 50 percent higher than in the previous quarter. Leaders in the segment were bio/pharma, medical device, and healthcare IT.

The top targeted specialties by amount raised gives some interesting insight into Q3’s market shift. While Oncology is always a top performer, it was eclipsed in Q3 by General Medicine, Genetics, Immunotherapy, and others. Both General Medicine and Genetics look to finish the year ahead of Oncology for total amount of money raised, while Cardiology and Vascular Surgery both enjoy solid investment numbers for the year to date.

Amount Raised by Specialty

The Rise of Bio/Pharma

After a down segment in Q2, Bio/Pharma startups had a strong showing in Q3. Focuses ran the gamut from pain management to pathology, with drug discovery and biotechnology leading the charge. Across all Bio/Pharma startups, nearly $2 billion was raised, while the median investment size increased by $900,000.

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Investor Spotlight: Dr. Jack Lewin Explains the Power of Clarity

Dr. Jack Lewin has what he calls an overly-simplistic maxim when it comes to reaching his goals. As an investor, the Principal and Founder of the healthcare consulting group Lewin and Associates, and Chairman of the National Coalition on Health Care, Dr. Lewin has no shortage of responsibilities. That is perhaps why “clarity is power” is his general truth of conduct. As he says, “being clear about what you want to do is the first step toward getting it done.”

Dr. Lewin is presently serving as the Syndicate Leader for the investment round in HealthPals. We recently had a chance to catch up with him to talk about his investment philosophies, how he got started investing, and what excites him about the future.

What Got You Started Investing?

I like to promote ideas that I think represent the future of healthcare. I look for innovations that are needed to make healthcare more effective for coming generations. I look carefully at what’s happening in the environment and try to associate myself with, and put my energy into, new companies that are going to create positive change.

What Gets You Excited About an Investment?

The principles of the company are really exciting. A lot of it is the team, but beyond that I also look for people who already understand the value and  potential of a company. I like when I see my friend Bob Harrington has decided that he wants to be part of something. He is the Chief of Medicine at Stanford, and the former head of Duke’s Cardiology Research Institute. When he’s there you know something really amazing is happening.

What Attributes Do You Look for in a Founder?

I like to see founders who really want to make a difference. You can feel that passion. It’s more than saying “I want to get rich.” I also want to see the passion that they’ve generated in the people around them about the potential for their product.

That’s part of what is fascinating about HealthPals. We’re living in this era where it has become cliche to talk about providing better outcomes and decreased cost. This company really contributes to those things, and not as a cliche.

What Have You Learned that You Wish You Knew Earlier?

Follow your own passions. Work on what you want to see happen in healthcare, and even beyond healthcare in areas like health information technology. Put your money and energy into something that you believe could produce better health, better healthcare, or lower costs. That not only feels good, but it does good. It’s contributing to the improvement in the health of the population.

What Three Things Get You Excited?

The long-anticipated idea of interoperability. It looms as one of the biggest areas of potential contribution. The potential exists, but there are all kinds of human barriers — proprietary data, privacy breach fears, a certain sense that there is no way to create pure interoperability in the same way that we have made it work in banking and finance. It can work. Privacy can be protected. Proprietary concerns are barriers to thinking about and building a more successful economy in healthcare.

I’m also excited about advanced analytics, or artificial intelligence as it’s called. I like seeing companies that apply AI to things other than search engines or financial tools. Applying it to healthcare is going to really transform the future of our industry. HealthPals is on the cutting edge of that transformation.

Finally, I get excited about new therapeutic options which seem like long shots or like science fiction. Occasionally I come across something that is relevant to the future. Thinking of my experience at the American College of Cardiology, when my tenure was beginning, we weren’t thinking that we would be able to replace heart valves using catheter-based therapy. A procedure where we wouldn’t have to crack the chest, and don’t have to use general anesthesia. In some case we can even send the patient home the same day. Creating a heart valve that comes out of a catheter, opens itself up, and can embed itself and just function? That sounds like science fiction. Ideas like that are worth exploring, and we’re starting to see a lot more of them.

That’s part of why I’m so interested in HealthPals. It fits all of my exciting areas. It’s really a leap in terms of how that information gets used. It employs a relationship with the National Cardiovascular Data Registry. I had the privilege of helping to found, promote, and turn the NCDR into a national resource during my time at the ACC. The NCDR has an impact on improving outcomes in the inpatient setting. The retrospective analysis of data can be turned into a means of advising and helping patients right at the point of care.

To a certain extent, HealthPals represents virtual research in action. Looking back at the NCDR and hundreds of millions of patient records, a clinician can advise a patient about what happens to the thousands of people who present with the same constellation of clinical and demographic factors that they have. It’s almost a means for the doctor and the patient to decide together what course of action to take based on real data and experiences.

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AngelMD Portfolio Company Raydiant Oximetry Awarded FDA Breakthrough Device Status

In the United States, roughly one out of every three babies born in the United States are delivered via cesarean section. According to key stakeholders, nearly half of these c-section deliveries are medically unnecessary. These major surgeries carry risks such as postpartum hemorrhage, rupture of the uterus, cardiac arrest, infection, complications from anesthesia, and much more.

Raydiant Oximetry, Inc. is a California-based company that has developed a safe and noninvasive technology that directly monitors a baby’s oxygenation during pregnancy. For clinicians who are dissatisfied with the lack of tools available to assess the baby during childbirth, this technology will lead to improved decision making and better care to mother and baby. Today, the company is announcing that it has been awarded Breakthrough Device status by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The FDA’s approval for a Breakthrough Medical Device status is an incredible validation for the work that we are doing,” said Raydiant Oximetry CEO Dr. Neil P. Ray. “Not only does it accelerate the path towards FDA approval, it’s also a public health validation that what we have been developing is a global priority for the health of mothers and babies.”

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The FDA’s Breakthrough program is targeted towards medical devices that address significant unmet clinical needs. It provides an expedited pathway to approval for market access. This pathway affords the sponsor a priority review with senior personnel and less pre-market clinical data for expedited approval.

“It is baffling that the public outcry over our current c-section rate isn’t louder than it is,” said AngelMD Lead Investor Dr. Wendy Whittington. “Raydiant’s new breakthrough status confirms that safe, effective tools to give doctors better information about in utero well being are necessary and timely. Tools to enable doing the right thing are welcome and necessary in this pivotal time for our healthcare system.”

AngelMD announced in September 2018 that a group of its investors had completed a funding round in Raydiant Oximetry. The company is now working on building its next generation prototype, to improve accuracy and reliability, which is slated for completion in February of 2019.

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Navigating the Waters as a Physician Entrepreneur

In one of our recent articles, we focused on the problem of “I have an idea…so now what?” For the physician entrepreneur, navigating the waters building a business while practicing medicine can be a challenge. You’re being pulled from all sides — your family, your patients, your company or idea — which leaves very little time for yourself. With all that said, the appeal of entrepreneurship is something that can’t be ignored. So let’s talk about what it takes to make it happen.

Set Your Schedule

The pundits will tell you that you have to do whatever it takes to succeed, even if that means neglecting yourself. Any physician will tell you, however, that proper rest is critical to health. So instead of starting this talk by focusing on the idea and the execution, let’s instead begin with setting a schedule.

In his 2016 book The 10% Entrepreneur, Patrick J. McGinnis posits that there are several types of entrepreneurship, and you can be successful at any of them by dedicating as little as ten percent of your spare time. To put these numbers into perspective, if you dedicate from 8 until 10 pm daily to “recreation”, that’s a mere twelve minutes each day that you’d need to put toward building your idea.

Plausible? McGinnis has studies in the book that argue his case. That said, the specific amount of time isn’t as important as the practice of setting a schedule and sticking to it. This practice makes sure that not only are your responsibilities getting the time that they should, but you’re taking care of yourself as well.

Get Educated

Medical school is designed to teach you how to become a physician, not an entrepreneur. That education is better left up to a combination of those who have come before you, and your own experiences. Part of that experience comes from being a practicing physician. This is where you will find the problems that you want to solve.

The next step of education comes in learning how to run a business. After all, that’s what you’re creating. This education can come in many forms, but one of the most widely-recognized is the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs. SoPE offers opportunities for collaboration, education, and help at every stage of the commercialization process.

Events like The Physician Entrepreneur Summit are also prime opportunities for education. They can help both the newcomer and the veteran understand the fine points of business and entrepreneurship while highlighting upcoming areas in medicine that offer strong opportunities for innovation.

Whether it’s a society, an event, or a discussion over coffee, never pass up the opportunity to learn. There may not be a degree involved, but the payoff is greater than any college program could provide.

Embrace Opportunity

Opportunity as an entrepreneur takes on many forms. For some, it will be serving as an advisor. For others it will be as an investor. Look for open doors that will allow you to get involved with companies in your area of expertise, and then walk through them.

But opportunity in entrepreneurship has a less-familiar face as well — one that looks a lot like failure.

As a physician, failure is has the potential to be devastating. As an entrepreneur, failure is part of what makes you great. As Thomas Edison famously said, ” I have not failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Every failure as an entrepreneur is an opportunity for you to learn. These lessons can be about your product, about your market, or about yourself. Your ability to judge in a clinical setting comes from experience. The same is true for your ability to judge opportunities and challenges in the business world.

Navigating the waters as a physician entrepreneur can be daunting. But if you know what you’re looking for, then finding it becomes a lot easier. By setting a schedule for yourself, seeking out help, and dedicating yourself to learning at every step, you will be better situated for success.

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