Israeli hernia-repair company Via Surgical has roped in $6 million in new investments, the company announced Tuesday. The round was led by the Benslie Investment Group, which has no paper trail up until now. Benslie’s Nicolas Weinstein will join the young startup’s board.
Via Surgical’s flagship product is the FasTouch, a lightweight device that uses lockable sutures, or wound stitches. “If you look at all the other products that are out there, they either screw into the abdominal wall or staple into the abdominal wall. This one acts like a suture,” said Dr. Karl A. Leblanc in a testimonial for the company, who also happens to be the former president of the American Hernia Society (yes, it’s real).
“The lockable sutures are designed to significantly minimize foreign body material, providing the first and only light-weight hernia fixation system,” according to Via Surgical.
The FasTouch is designed to minimize the amount of foreign material in the body. Tacks tend to make up most of the weight of material used to repair hernias during surgery, so the less material put into the body the better. They claim to have a stronger solution than other hernia fixation competition. Major competitors include SorbaFix, Absorbatack, and SecureStrap by Ethicon.
While hernias don’t sound like they’d be big money, the market for hernia repair devices alone will be worth $6.1 billion by 2020 according to Allied Market Research. The number of operations is expected to grow to 36 million by then, up from 27 million in 2013. Medtronic and Ethicon are tallied as the most important corporates in the field. Proprietary, advanced synthetic meshes used to close the wounds, like Physiomesh, are an increasingly important part of the market.
The Benslie Investment Group is led by Mr. Alejandro Weinstein Manieu, who led and sold Chilean pharma giant CFR Pharmaceuticals. He is still the chairman of CFR’s stem cell research-promoting organization Fundación Genómika, which maintains a bank of umbilical cord stem cells called el Banco de Vida (the Bank of Life). He is also involved in social initiatives like Educa UC and Consorcio Tecnologico en Biomedicina.
Via Surgical is located in the northern Israeli town of Amirim. The company was founded by CEO Ofek Levin, CFO Lena Levin, and CTO Arik Levy.