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WIN Backs SonoVascular Ahead of Clinical Trials

Research Triangle Park medical company SonoVascular is one step closer to improving treatment for those with venous thromboembolism after securing capital and resources from the Wolfpack Investor Network.

two lab technicians demonstrate the sonovascular technology on a mock vein
Sr. engineer and Joint BME alum John Ranshaw (left) and Michael Romero, principal engineering technician, demonstrate the thrombectomy.

The Wolfpack Investor Network (WIN) announced its newest investment in SonoVascular, an early-stage medical device company that offers a novel approach for the treatment of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis caused by blood clots in the lungs or legs. 

Venous thromboembolism – deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – affects about 900,000 Americans each year and costs the U.S. approximately $10 billion. SonoVascular aims to reduce the impact of venous thromboembolism by uniquely combining multiple mechanisms of action; (i) ultrasound, (ii) microbubbles, (iii) low dose thrombolytic drug, and (iv) mechanical retrieval and aspiration – delivered through an integrated intravascular catheter system in a single treatment. The SonoThrombectomy™ platform can be used in a catheterization lab and requires no ICU stay and has been designed to enable the safe and effective treatment of all types of blood clots, while reducing the amount of thrombolytics to levels that optimize safety and effectiveness.

WIN chose a long-term investment in SonoVascular for several reasons including the product’s large total and serviceable addressable market, excellent unit economics, and all-star leadership and technical teams.

The core ultrasound technology, spun out of the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering Department (Joint BME) and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), is being developed under a leadership team with decades of experience in the MedTech industry. Daniel Estay, founder and CEO, started his career in 1987 working for his father in a family business that developed the Latin American market for leading global medical device companies, including Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical. Cardiovascular products became Estay’s early passion, and he had a successful career in corporate development and commercial operations with Johnson & Johnson and Abbott. 

Luke Harada, the COO of SonoVascular, has over 25 years of experience in corporate development and finance in the MedTech industry.

In 2017, while reviewing a vascular medicine journal, Estay read about the research that would eventually lead to the formation of SonoVascular in early 2018. Since then, Estay has assembled a robust technical team with an impressive combined MedTech background to develop and test the technology, and secure regulatory approval. The company has also assembled a highly experienced board of directors that is led by Chairman, Bill Starling, who is one of the MedTech industry’s most successful entrepreneurs. Starling also serves as the chair of the Industrial Advisory Board for the Joint BME.

As interest in SonoVascular increased across the Triangle, investments followed. An early partnership with the NC State Office of Research Commercialization led to the development of the business plan and the first license agreement in 2018. In 2019, Innovate Carolina issued SonoVascular a Commercial Award via its Kickstart Venture Services program to develop a prototype and conduct in-vitro bench testing in Professor Xiaoning Jiang’s Micro/Nano Engineering Lab at NC State. The sponsored research agreement with NC State led to proof of concept and a new relationship with WIN. 

WIN’s Investment in SonoVascular

In the first quarter of 2022, WIN members invested $85,000 in seed capital for SonoVascular, supporting the initial phase of the company’s development. In the second quarter of 2023, WIN members invested over $325,000 as part of the company’s current convertible note financing. To date, SonoVascular has raised over $5 million and is now poised to achieve key product development milestones. The company is planning to raise over $10 million via a Series A financing in the fourth quarter of 2023 to support first-in-human clinical studies in New Zealand in the third quarter of 2024, followed by a U.S. clinical study in 2025 which will be required to secure FDA approval for its first clinical indication. 

During ongoing development and preclinical/clinical trials, WIN will support SonoVascular with its organizational and business development goals to ensure the longevity and success of the company and the technology.

WIN recently partnered with Harbright Ventures to increase its reach and scope. The team approach will increase the investment power of WIN, boost member investment opportunities and help more companies like SonoVascular with counsel and support.