Investment led by Vertex Venture Holdings to Support Randomized Clinical Trial
Minneapolis, MN, April 03, 2014 – Holaira, Inc., a developer of medical devices to treat obstructive lung diseases, today announced the completion of its Series D private equity financing, totaling $42 million led by Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd. Other participants in this financing round include Windham Venture Partners, two strategic investors, and all of Holaira’s existing venture investors: Advanced Technology Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, Split Rock Partners, and Versant Ventures. Proceeds from this financing will be used to support the first randomized lung denervation clinical trial with a sham control.
Holaira is working on a novel catheter-based system for a procedure called targeted lung denervation (TLD), that has the potential to make breathing easier for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is one of the leading, yet under-recognized, causes of morbidity and mortality. It is characterized by a persistent airflow limitation due to a progressive narrowing of the airways interfering with normal breathing, resulting in shortness of breath (dyspnea), wheezing, chest tightness, and a productive cough. Worldwide, nearly 190 million people have COPD with more than 15 million adults diagnosed in the US.
“Until now, COPD patients have had few options for managing their symptoms,” said Dr. Lincoln Chee, venture partner of Vertex Venture Holdings. “We believe that Holaira’s proprietary technology enables a fundamental advance in COPD treatment. We anticipate that this simple bronchoscopic treatment will provide lasting lung function improvement by opening obstructed airways.”
“This financing signals a strong endorsement from the investment community for our product development progress and support for our upcoming clinical trials for the Holaira™ Lung Denervation System,” said Dennis Wahr, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Holaira. “After completion of multiple animal studies and two human feasibility trials, we are ready to initiate the first randomized clinical trial with a sham control for targeted lung denervation therapy.”
“As an early investor in Holaira, we are very pleased to welcome firms of the quality of Vertex Venture Holdings and Windham Venture Partners,” said Hank Plain of Morgenthaler Ventures. “This new coalition further validates the significant opportunities ahead for Holaira.”
Concurrent with the financing milestone, Dr. Wahr announced the addition of Dr. Chee to Holaira’s Board of Directors. Dr. Chee will serve alongside Mike Carusi of Advanced Technology Ventures, Mark Deem of The Foundry, Kirk Nielsen of Versant Ventures, Hank Plain of Morgenthaler Ventures, Dave Stassen of Split Rock Partners and Dr. Wahr.
About Holaira – Holaira, Inc. is a privately held lung denervation company developing minimally invasive products to make breathing easier for patients suffering from obstructive lung diseases. Founded in 2008, Holaira is currently working on a novel catheter-based system that has the potential to improve lung function, exercise capacity and quality of life for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
About Vertex Venture Holdings – Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, investing in emerging companies across Greater Asia and selectively in US and Europe. Since inception in 1988, Vertex has invested in more than 350 start-up companies, achieving substantial returns for investors, while helping over 150 portfolio companies realize their intrinsic value, through listings on global capital markets and acquisitions by industry leaders. Headquartered in Singapore, with regional offices in Beijing, Shanghai (China), Taipei (Taiwan) and Bangalore (India), Vertex seeks to leverage its network presence and combined experience to create value for both investors and portfolio companies.
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 COPD, May 2013, TDR, Inc.
 CDC MMWR, Nov 23 2012, Vol 51, No.46