Financial backers of Salient Surgical Technologies Inc. are again stepping up to protect their investments, ponying up $15 million in new funding while they wait for an eventual liquidity event.
The deal is the Portsmouth, N.H.-based company’s seventh funding round over the past decade and its second since it shelved plans for an initial public offering in late August, 2008. Since then, venture funds and other institutional investors have pumped nearly $33 million into Salient, including the current round, building on previous financing efforts totaling almost $94 million.
Regulatory documents filed Jan. 7 provided few details of the new funding round, other than its overall size and the participation of 10 investors. It’s highly likely, however, that major stockholders including TLM Investors, QuestMark Advisors and the RiverVest Venture Fund, along with long-time corporate patron Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT), were back adding to their respective stakes.
Previously known as TissueLink Medical, Salient Surgical launched in August, 1999, after securing an exclusive global license to “wet” electrode technology developed by Medtronic. The Minneapolis-based device conglomerate also had a sizable stake in a concurrent $4 million seed round and has participated in each of Salient’s five subsequent funding rounds as well.
Salient Surgical currently sells several devices relying on its transcollation technology to control bleeding during surgeries. Revenues grew 55 percent in 2008, the last time privately held Salient Surgery publicly disclosed sales figures, reaching an estimated $45 million.
Transcollation gently seals soft tissue with a combination of radio-frequency energy and saline. As opposed to electrocautery, where tissue is literally seared shut, transcollation raises tissue temperatures to around 70 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit), at which point collagen proteins begin to change shape and swell at the molecular level, permanently closing gaps and blood vessels as wide as 1mm in diameter.
Company officials cited adverse market conditions when they yanked the proposed $86 million IPO just before Labor Day in 2008, four-and-a-half months after filing preliminary offering documents. At the time, Portland, Ore.-based TLM Investors and other funds affiliated with TLM principal Anthony Arnerich held a 40.5 percent stake in Salient Surgical, largely the result of its $15.4 million lead position in the company’s $20 million Series E round in February, 2007.
Medtronic’s stake has declined in size as other investors have come on board, although MDT still owned preferred shares convertible into about 8.8 percent of the company when the IPO was scrapped. Salient Surgical also pays licensing fees to Medtronic in the form of promissory notes convertible to additional preferred stock.