Profusa, a company that is developing connected tissue-implanted biosensors, has raised just over $45 million in Series C funding. Participants in the round included new investors VMS Investment Group, Tasly Pharmaceutical Group, and Maxim Integrated, as well as returning backers 3E Bioventures Capital and Atinum Investment.
The company will be using the new financing to bring its CE Marked sensor, the Profusa Lumee Oxygen Platform, toward commercialization and continue development of another continuous biosensor focused on glucose detection.
"The vision of the company really is to provide clinical-grade biochemical information, where it’s high enough quality that a therapeutic choice may be made, for that information to be gathered in real time and be acquired anytime, anywhere,” Ben Hwang, CEO and chairman of Profusa, told MobiHealthNews. “It’s a very substantial round for us. We’re particularly excited about the types of investors … as well as the fact that the round is a sizable round — it’s probably one of the larger rounds in our space. So, we’re grateful for the opportunity to take that money and really fuel our growth.”
At the heart of Profusa’s embeddable biosensor system is a small sliver of a hydrogel that technology that is embedded into a patient’s tissue. The hydrogel reacts to specific changes in body chemistry, while a wearable continuous sensor on the surface on the skin is able to detect these changes and transmit the data to a digital reader.
In particular, Hwang highlighted the difficulties the embeddable biosensor market at large has faced when designing a sensor unimpeded by the immune system’s foreign body response.
“The innovation that we actually have on the market, that we’re excited about, really it’s this notion that we’re able to put a little, tiny sensor into the human body and be able to provide long-term functionality, where the body’s foreign body response doesn’t impact the functionality of that sensor. We’ve demonstrated in certain ways, and clearly there’s a lot of work to do to demonstrate [other] applications as well, but that version is coming closer to reality.”
So far the technology is being employed in the Profusa’s first product for continuous monitoring tissue oxygen levels, which the company notes could provide clinically relevant data for patients with compromised tissue, chronic wounds, sleep apnea, COPD, and recent reconstructive surgery. This system — which is being offered in the EU but could someday see submission in the US, Hwang said — currently sends its data to a connected tablet in the doctor’s office. However, he noted, the company’s plans for future systems include designs that would send the monitoring data directly to a mobile app, further simplifying how clinically relevant data could be leveraged to help guide care.
“We believe [our biosensor is] a major enablement for the vision of digital health we all want, and we think is right around the corner, which is how do we get the right kind of information in our hands to make decisions about our health, in conjunction with our healthcare provider?” Hwang said. “We think that’s always the part that’s missing a bit in this digital health story, and for us just to be part of the industry, … to get that part of the data that historically we couldn’t obtain in real time and at a reasonable cost, that’s the part we’re really, really excited about.”