Loci Orthopaedics, a Galway-based medical devices start-up that has developed a new joint implant to treat arthritis, has raised €2.75 million in a seed round.
The company, a spin-off from NUI Galway and KU Leuven in Belgium, said it intended to use the financing to commercialise the "InDx" device to treat what is a common but crippling joint condition.
The funding has been provided by Enterprise Ireland, the Western Development Commission, the investment arm of KU Leuven University and a number of unnamed industry veterans.
It provides financing for 24 months and will be used to advance product development in preparation for clinical trials and regulatory approval in the United States and Europe.
Arthritis of the thumb base joint, which affects at least 5 per cent of the global population, causes significant functional impairment of the hand. Many of those with the condition lose the ability to perform everyday tasks such as using a mobile phone or writing due to severe pain.
With more than 200,000 surgical procedures carried out each year in the European Union and the US combined for severe thumb base arthritis, there is believed to be substantial growth potential for new solutions.
InDx is believed to be the only implant that successfully mimics the complex motions of a healthy thumb joint, as it provides two points of rotation that can move concurrently and independently while enabling the joint to move in all six degrees of freedom. The implant is also easier to insert and less invasive than any currently available surgical option for this condition.
The total current total addressable surgical market for thumb base arthritis procedures in the US and EU is estimated at more than $600 million per annum. This market is expected to increase in the coming years due to changing demographics.
"Securing this seed round funding will put Loci Orthopaedics firmly on track to achieve the short- and medium-term goals required towards getting this product to market to relieve the daily suffering of many patients," said Dr Brendan Boland, chief executive of Loci, which he co-founded with Gerry Clarke.