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Holaira Raises $10M for COPD Device

Stacy Campbell-Kraft

Holaira Raises $10M for COPD Device

By Timothy Hay | Minneapolis

Holaira Inc., a company that aims to bring a popular treatment for hypertension into the realm of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, says it has raised a $10 million insider Series C round to continue with overseas clinical trials.

The funding was provided by Advanced Technology Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, Split Rock Partners and Versant Ventures, all return investors, company spokeswoman Lorraine Marshall Wright said.

The Minneapolis-based company, known until recently as Innovative Pulmonary Solutions Inc., has raised a total of $30 million from investors, she said, declining to give a valuation for Holaira.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, narrows the airways of the lungs, which can make breathing difficult. The condition today is often treated with bronchodilators, medications that relax the airways.

Ms. Wright said the medications are often prescribed for life, causing a hardship for many patients. Other COPD treatments include inhaled corticosteroids, oxygen therapy or surgery to remove lung tissue.

Holaira is developing a catheter-based device that denervates the nerves within the lungs, a procedure that Holaira says will cause muscles to relax and the patient’s airway to open. The procedure is meant to be done once, and the company says it will offer permanent relief.

Renal denervation, the deadening of sympathetic nerves, is common in treating hypertension. Medtronic Inc., St. Jude Medical Inc., Covidien Plc. and other top medical-technology makers offer devices to denervate areas of the body that regulate hypertention, or high blood pressure.

If successful, Holaira would be the first-ever company to bring denervation to the COPD treatment space, Ms. Wright said.

The company is in the midst of human clinical trials of its catheter-based device, she said, adding that the new funding will enable the company to complete those trials, which are taking place in Europe and in South Africa.

In addition to changing its name, the company has also relocated its headquarters from Seattle to Minneapolis, Ms. Wright said.