Raleigh’s Contego Medical raises $5.6 million

Raleigh medical device company Contego Medical has raised $5.6 million in new funding for developing new products and expanding its staff.

The funding announced last week was led by Hatteras Venture Partners, a Durham venture capital firm. Prior investors, including Raleigh investment firm Lookout Capital, also participated in the funding.

The company is anticipating bringing its first product to market in Europe shortly. That product integrates an angioplasty balloon or stent with a filter used to capture plaque that can lead to a stroke. Typically, those devices require two separate procedures.

“It’s a first of its kind out there in the industry,” said Paul Sanders, chief operating officer. “We do all that on one catheter and one procedure, which saves time, money...and makes it a lot safer.”

Venture capitalist Doug Reed of Hatteras said that companies have been trying to achieve what Contego has accomplished for years.

“It was a significant engineering challenge,” said Reed, who is joining Contego’s board of directors.

Contego actually received European approval of the first generation of this product in February 2012 but decided to upgrade it before bringing it to market.

“When you’re a small company, you have one shot,” said co-founder and CEO Ravish Sachar, a cardioloist at N.C. Heart and Vascular. “You don’t want to go out with something that is almost good enough.”

The company anticipates that European regulators will approve the new-and-improved version in a few weeks and already has signed contracts with six hospitals in Germany that want to use it.

“Everyone we have spoken to immediately understands the benefits we offer,” Sachar said. “I’m excited this is going to be available to patients to reduce risk.”

Although pricing hasn’t been finalized, Reed said that it is likely to be on par with, or a “slight premium” above, existing devices.

“The goal is to make it simple and easy and a no-brainer to use this,” he said.

The technology developed by Contego, which has five full-time employees, is a platform technology that the company is adapting to other cardiovascular and endovascular procedures.

Contego has targeted gaining U.S. approval for its first product some time next year, but hasn’t yet decided which device that might be.

“We have a number of option as to which of our products we take to the U.S. first,” Sachar said.

Contego intends to use its funding to augment its sales and engineering staff, but the number of hires “remains to be seen,” Sanders said.

Contego, which was founded in 2005, previously raised $1.5 million in its first round of funding.