TransEnterix of Durham raises $55 million

Staff writerOctober 7, 2009 

A fast-growing medical device company in Durham has raised $55 million in venture-capital financing, one of the largest funding hauls by a Triangle business this year.

TransEnterix will use the money to manufacture and market a new device that promises scar-free abdominal surgery to repair hernias or remove gall bladders, ovaries and appendixes.

The device, called the SPIDER System, recently won approval from the Food and Drug Administration. TransEnterix CEO Todd M. Pope expects to begin training physicians how to use it shortly and start selling it by next spring.

In the United States this year, doctors will perform 2.5 million laparoscopic procedures and there's hunger for a better method, Pope said.

"There's a lot of momentum around minimally invasive surgery," he said. "We're always trying to have less pain and trauma for the patient going into surgery. It's been well-received by physicians and investment community."

The tool won the "Innovation of the Year" award from the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons last month.

TranxEnterix will use the venture money to begin manufacturing the device and build a sales team, Pope said. The company is committed to making the device in this region and Pope's top priority, now that he's secured the additional funding, will be to find a manufacturing site.

"We're excited about being a growing medical-device company in this region," said Pope, who grew up in Raleigh and attended Millbrook High School and UNC-Chapel Hill.

TransEnterix employs 31 people and Pope expects to have 80 employees by the end of next year.

The company was founded in 2006 by Synecor, a business incubator in Durham. The SPIDER System was the brainchild of Dr. Richard Stack, a Duke University professor emeritus.

The latest round of financing was led by Aisling Capital and included new investors Quaker BioVentures and Durham-based Intersouth Partners. Garheng Kong, a general partner with Intersouth, will join TransEnterix's board of directors.

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