Yale Spin-off Receives $15 Million to Commercialize M-Brace™ for Spinal Pain

Applied Spine Technologies (AST), an emerging surgical implant company developing the M–Brace™ System, a stabilization device that supports the spine while preserving motion and flexibility, received $15 million in venture capital to commercialize the technology developed at Yale.

M–Brace™, invented at Yale University to address chronic low back pain, is a minimally invasive surgical implant procedure designed to maintain normal spine motion and disc function. It uses traditional screw anchors to the bone, but attaches them to a novel mechanism with flexible joints.

The implant acts like a shock absorber for the spinal column. It has the potential to prevent or slow adjacent segment disease, and is expected to offer numerous advantages over current spinal fixation products including the new artificial disc products. In addition, it is expected that patients treated with M–Brace™ can go on to receive fusion surgery or artificial disc replacement, if necessary.

AST, located in the technology incubator at 300 George Street in New Haven, was founded in February 2004 by Manohar Panjabi, M.D., Professor of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, and Mechanical Engineering at Yale University, one of the world’s leading authorities on spine biomechanics.

“A less invasive solution like M–Brace will encourage many patients—who previously lived with their pain—to opt for this more conservative surgical solution,” said Thomas E. Wood, president and chief executive officer of AST.

“Given Yale’s mission to translate academic research into products that improve the health and prosperity of the global community, we are delighted that Applied Spine Technologies has been able to secure additional financing to fast–forward commercialization of its novel M–Brace System,” said Jon Soderstrom, Managing Director, Yale University Office of Cooperative Research.

The Series ‘B’ round of financing investors were InterWest Partners (www.interwest.com) and De Novo Ventures (www.denovovc.com). InterWest Partners Principal, Ellen Koskinas, joins the AST Board of Directors, effective immediately. AST’s Board of Directors also includes: Jeffrey T. Barnes, General Partner, Oxford Bioscience Partners; Marc Goldberg, General Partner, BioVentures Investors; Jon Soderstrom; and, Thomas Wood.

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