Renovia, a company that is seeking to revolutionize the way in which pelvic floor disorders are diagnosed and treated, recently announced the successful completion of a Series B equity round. Led by Perceptive Advisors and Ascension Ventures, the round brought in $32.3 million of equity funding as well as an additional $10 million in debt financing. The funding round is just the latest in a series of successes for the Boston-based women’s health company, which plans to use the funds for a variety of purposes, including improvements and upgrades to the company’s flagship product, the leva Pelvic Digital Health System.
The funding round brought many new investors into the fold, ensuring that Renovia will continue to be able to continue its research and development activities. Some of the leading health care investors who have joined the Renovia team include Jim O’Connor, who is serving as general counsel; Dr. Samantha Pulliam, who is serving as Chief Medical Officer; and Jessica McKinney, who is serving as vice president of Medical Affairs and Clinical Advocacy. According to Renovia, the funds that have been raised will be used to support upcoming commercial launches, for the further development of the company’s product pipeline and for upcoming clinical trials.
To continue its research into pelvic floor disorders, which are believed to affect as many as one-quarter of all women, Renovia will use some of the funding that was raised during the Series B round for a clinical trial that is expected to begin in October. Renovia will compare its leva system to performing Kegel exercises alone — the most common treatment for pelvic floor disorder — for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence. This type of incontinence is one in which urine escapes when movement places pressure on the bladder.
Renovia, Inc., which was founded as a startup by Marc Beer in 2016, is responsible for bringing the leva Pelvic Digital Health System to the market. The system has been cleared by the FDA for the treatment of pelvic floor disorders. It is unique in that it incorporates a smartphone app with a connected probe that is fitted with very sensitive sensor technologies. Through the use of Bluetooth, the probe transmits information to the smartphone app, allowing users to clearly visualize what is happening as they attempt to perform Kegel exercises and other exercises that are designed to strengthen the pelvic floor.
Why would patients need a device like leva, anyway? Pelvic floor disorders are believed to affect as many as one in four women at some point during their lives. The pelvic floor consists of muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues that form a sling across the opening of the pelvis. Within this sling, the uterus, bladder, rectum, and bowel are contained. Over time, the muscles within the pelvic floor may become weakened or injured. Many times, this is caused or exacerbated by childbirth. There are many treatment options for pelvic floor disorders, but one of the simplest and most effective is to target and exercise the muscles in the pelvic floor.
Although patients are typically able to understand the importance of strengthening such muscles, they often struggle to perform such exercises effectively. The correct motion is one that lifts the muscles upward; all too often, however, patients perform the exercises in a way that pushes the pelvis floor downward, which isn’t strengthening. Renovia’s leva system uses a probe with sensors to detect how muscles in the pelvic floor are moving during such exercises. The probe then transmits images of these movements to a smartphone app. This information is provided in real time, allowing patients to adjust how they perform the exercises to hopefully perform them correctly.
The company also produces the EmbaGYN Pelvic Floor Exerciser, and it plans to research and develop additional products for improving pelvic floor strength and health in the future. Like the leva system, the EmbaGYN collects compliance and progress data. This information is then used to apprise patients of their progress and to inform them of how correctly they are performing Kegels and other exercises. In this way, Renovia seeks to empower patients to take charge of their pelvic floor health.
In addition to helping patients take more proactive roles in their health, Renovia seeks to increase knowledge and information about pelvic floor disorders in general. Through the clinical trials and other research that the company performs, it gathers information that is used to not only develop and improve products but to improve overall research into such disorders. Marc Beer, the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Renovia, expressed satisfaction with the Series B funding round. Beer has been instrumental in the rise of Renovia from a startup in 2016 to the success that it has become today, and the latest round of funding reflects that.
Although Renovia has stated that it will make improvements to the leva device using some of the funding, no information about the types of changes that will be made has been released. It appears that a “second generation” of the system may be released sometime in the future, but no release date has been announced. The funding went through in the middle of August, and the new clinical study that Renovia will perform was expected to begin in October. All of this indicates that the company is poised to have a very productive year in 2019.
Naturally, the latest funding round, which included $32.3 million in equity funding and another $10 million in debt financing, is not the last for Renovia. The company has only scratched the surface of what it hopes to achieve in the area of pelvic floor health — especially among women, who tend to suffer the most from pelvic floor disorders. Renovia hopes to raise awareness and to increase understanding about disorders like stress urinary incontinence, which can make it difficult for women to enjoy life. In the year to come, the company is sure to announce additional new products and findings that it uncovers through clinical trials and other studies, and that is great news for women and anyone who suffers from pelvic floor disorders.