Augmenix lands $6.1 million in Series B round

Augmenix, the latest life science venture from serial hydrogel entrepreneur Amar Sawhney, landed a second, $6.1 million tranche for a Series B funding round to develop its SpaceOAR radiation oncology polymer product.

Waltham, Mass.-based Augmenix is working on clinical trials for the product, an injectable, degradable polyethylene glycol-based hydrogel designed to temporarily position the anterior rectal wall away from the prostate during radiotherapy for prostate cancer.

The company had already drummed up a $4.7 million first tranche for the round. The nearly $11 million total will be used to fund an ongoing clinical trial in the European Union with an eye toward obtaining CE Marking there, as well as an initial pivotal trial in the U.S. aimed at winning an investigational device exemption from the Food & Drug Administration.

Sawhney told MassDevice that he expects to make progress on both fronts next year.

“Those things are still moving targets, so it’s hard to be specific,” Sawhney said. “I would expect the CE Mark some time mid-next-year and the IDE should follow shortly thereafter.”

Augmenix said the latest round was led by Ascension Health Ventures of St. Louis, Mo. Existing investors, Versant Ventures and Pinnacle Ventures, Catalyst Health Ventures and several private investors also kicked in.

AHV’s investment director, Tara Butler, will join the company’s board.

Amar SawhneySawhney is also the founder of Ocular Therapeutix Inc., formerly I-Therapeutix Inc., which is developing the I-Zip ocular bandage, another hydrogel-based product that’s applied as a liquid but morphs into a soft, protective barrier which then breaks down into tears.

Asked how he’s able to keep so many irons in the fire, Sawhney credited the team he’s put together to help run his operations.

“I have a great team. I’ve got some wonderful people,” he said. “We understand each other very well and they do a bang-up job. I don’t have to be looking over their shoulders all the time. We just want to keep our heads down and get some work done.”

In June, Ocular Therapeutix raised $15 million in a Series C round to help commercialize the I-Zip bandage.

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