More than $15 million settled in the region during final quarter 2011 activity, including venture capital dollars and grant funding, some promising to bring company hiring.
ALung Technologies Inc. closed on $9 million of a $10 million capital raise from previous investors, mostly high-net-worth individuals. Birchmere Ventures led the Series B with a $2 million investment. The money will fund operations and commercialization of its artificial lung, the Hemolung System. ALung expects to hire three to five people, mostly technicians, in Pittsburgh (and three to five in Europe) as manufacturing ramps up.
Life Sciences company Flexuspine raised $2.1 million from existing investors to further the development of a Functional Spinal Unit, an implant that replaces the entire lumbar segment in the spine giving patients a fuller range of motion than possible through existing surgery. The money will be used for further pilot studies and to launch the product in Europe upon its approval there.
Pitt’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, the Hill House Association, and the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone (PCKIZ) have been awarded a $1.95 million grant from the multi-agency Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. The funds will be used to fuel the creation of jobs in the energy and medical industries in several Pittsburgh communities: the Hill District, East Liberty, Garfield, Larimer, Lincoln, and Homewood.
HealthpointCapital purchased East Liberty-based Blue Belt Technologies, a Carnegie Mellon spinoff that has been developing "smart" surgical instruments for orthopedic and other specialties. BlueBelt will remain in Pittsburgh and add as many 30 employees as the result of the acquisition. Manufacturing will remain in Pittsburgh for now, but may move in the coming year. The first tool, the Navio PFS, will be available to surgeons by late next year.
South Side medical device company Thermal Therapeutics Systems is going global, named a new president and CEO and made a $2 million private offering to its investors. Approvals are expected soon for the product's release on the European market, says CEO Gardiner F.H. Smith. The firm's co-founder and previous CEO, Raymond F. Vennare, will serve as executive vice president for strategic planning.
The firm's device, the VeraTherm, is a portable, heated pump used physicians in the treatment of abdominal cancer surgeries to kill cancer cells more effectively. The firm is considering expanding into Canada and China.
The Resumator, creators of an online resume and hiring management tool, is looking for room to grow. The firm is also hiring for 10 positions on its Facebook page. CEO Don Chartlton hopes to reach 30 people in the coming year.
TrueFit, a firm that assists startups and larger enterprises in bringing new product ideas to market, has added seven members to its team as a result of company growth. The firm plans to add additional staff in mobile applications and web development in the coming year.
And a final note, independent filmmaker and journalist Kirsi Jansa received $50,000 from The Heinz Endowments for her project, "Gas Rush Stories," a series of short documentaries on the impact of gas drilling in southwestern PA
Source: The Pittsburgh Technology Council, Innovation Works and the
companiesWriter: Deb Smit
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