updated: 7/20/2009 1:22:02 PM

Life Sciences Startup Raises $10M in Venture Capital

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

Indianapolis-based medical device startup NICO Corp. says it has secured $10 million in funding from more than 45 new investors. The investment round was led by familiar names to the Indiana life sciences community including Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Twilight Venture Partners and Clarian Health Ventures. NICO President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Pearson says the funding will allow the company to expand its product line and sales.

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Press Release

NICO Corporation, founded by several experienced Indiana life science executives, announced today that it has secured $10 million in Series C funding from more than 45 new investors. NICO is a privately-held medical device company holding exclusive worldwide patent rights to the newest automated minimally invasive neuro and spinal tissue and tumor removal instruments to hit the commercial market in more than a decade. The investment round was led by familiar names to the Indiana life sciences community Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Twilight Venture Partners, River Cities Capital Funds, Clarian Health Ventures, and The HALO Group.

"NICO is one of those companies that has all the right ingredients for a success story, said Carter McNabb, managing director of River Cities Capital Funds. "Innovative technology, compelling clinical applications and experienced leadership are all components of the NICO story line. NICO's leadership team produced outsized results in the past with Suros Surgical Systems, and we believe they are poised to do it again with NICO."

Indiana's life science sector continues to show signs of strength even during challenging economic times. NICO is part of that Midwest sector growth and launched its first product, the NICO Myriadô, in May. The company has raised more than $12 million in total investments with over 60 investors. NICO President and CEO Jim Pearson said this most recent funding round will allow the company to expand the product line and prove out the sales cycle while building market momentum into 2010.

"Securing this level of commitment from investors who understand the importance of integrating reliable and industry-changing technology with a solid business plan indicates an unprecedented level of confidence during unpredictable economic times," said Pearson. "These investments will allow NICO to ramp-up production and ultimately provide patients with new minimally invasive surgery options."

The NICO Myriad is designed for all soft tumor tissue removal in the central nervous system and offers surgeons significantly more control for delicate tissue shaving on and around critical structures while drastically reducing surgical procedure times. It can be inserted down the working channel of an endoscope and is uniquely capable of cutting, aspirating and dissecting tissue without removal from the surgical field.

"This device has tremendous potential to play a significant role in enabling access and ensuring safety in the removal of brain tumors near critical structures and in tight spaces," said Dr. Troy Payner, neurological surgeon and president of the Indianapolis Neurosurgical Group. "It offers several advantages over existing technology, especially for minimally invasive neurosurgery and endoscopic neurosurgery. It may also have applications in the spine, which could be revolutionary."

The NICO product line is unique in its ability to advance the industry towards more minimally invasive approaches because it uses no heat and can eliminate patient risk from heat damage to adjacent critical structures such as nerves or blood vessels. They are capable of being used in all open and endoscopic procedures, allowing the physician superior access with a tool that is about the size of a pencil. NICO products are also completely automated, which improves the rate of tissue removal during open and endoscopic surgery.

The NICO technology offers a unique advantage that can shorten the duration of surgery, preserve critical structures, and improve the extent of resection of certain brain tumors, all of which will improve patient outcomes," added Dr. Payner.

More than 200,000 people in the United States and 2 million people worldwide are diagnosed with a brain tumor every year. They are the leading cause of solid tumor cancer deaths in children under the age of 20, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in male adults ages 20-29, and the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in females ages 20-29. The Myriad device has clinical applications for both adult and children patient populations.

To learn more about NICO Corporation and the NICO Myriad, visit www.niconeuro.com.

Source: NICO Corp.

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