Today (Monday), Israeli MedTech startup Vessi Medical, which developed a non-invasive treatment for superficial bladder cancer, announced that it has raised $1.7 million for its cryoablation solution. The investment was led by Vessi’s portfolio stakeholders, The Trendlines Group, with participation from Agriline, the Israel Innovation Authority, and ExitValley Investors. The company further reports that its first-in-human trials demonstrating the safety and efficiency of Vessi’s intravesical cryotherapy device is planned for Q1 2021.
Bringing back the quality of life with minimally-invasive treatment
Vessi Medical’s non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) technological solution can potentially provide relief for close to 2 million NMIBC patients worldwide. The cryo device helps relieve common NMIBC symptoms, from urination pain to sexual dysfunction, which both can impact mental health in patients. The company claims that 70% of low-grade papillary tumors market are NMIBC patients, making their medical device a key component of a $1.2 billion per year market.
Vessi Medical CEO Eyal Kochavi noted that “demonstrating the technology in humans is an important milestone towards making cryo-spray ablation a significant tool for the treatment of superficial bladder cancer. We are currently focused on bladder cancer, but the Vessi technology will address other bladder diseases, such as overactive bladder, benefiting patients, physicians and the healthcare system.”
Although treatments do currently exist, like Transurethal Restriction of Bladder Tumor, which is a highly costly, invasive surgical procedure under general anesthesia, hospitals oftentimes find themselves inadequately prepared for treatment. Patients are then required to go through multiple procedures that often reduce the quality of life, and if that wasn’t disheartening enough, then the company reports that in up to 80% of cases, the cancer returns. Whereas Vessi's minimal-invasive treatment can be done at your local urologist's clinic under local anesthetic, meaning no prolonged stay in hospitals.
Vessi's minimally invasive NMIBC solution provides a new, first-line outpatient clinic treatment alternative to surgery using bladder-specific cryotherapy technology. The Vessi system consists of a standalone console and a disposable device inserted transurethrally into the bladder.
Trendlines Incubators Israel CEO Barak Singer added: “Vessi Medical has made tremendous progress in their product development. We are very pleased with the company’s ability to complete this financing during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made fundraising more challenging. The importance of minimally invasive treatment solutions that do not require hospitalization has been highlighted by the pandemic and supports the move to less centralized healthcare options.”
Mr. Vincent Tchenguiz, a British entrepreneur and beneficiary of the trust that owns Agriline, commented, “We recognize the strength of Vessi’s platform technology and believe that the company's product has the potential to offer unique value to patients suffering from bladder cancer. We are keen to work with the company as it matures and look forward to helping it fulfill its mission to significantly improve results for all those involved - the patients, the physicians and the healthcare system as a whole.”
Vessi Medical was founded in 2015 by CEO Eyal Kochavi, who has immense experience with cryotherapy technologies. The company has offices in one of Israel’s northern tech hubs, and was incubated by Trendlines in 2017.