Medical Device Firm Raises $7M to Commercialize Hernia Mesh

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Durham-based Deep Blue Medical Advances, bootstrapped by nearly half a million dollars in North Carolina Biotechnology Center loans, has raised more than $7 million in venture capital to commercialize a device for repairing hernias.

The Series A funding will support the commercialization of the T-Line Hernia Mesh, designed to eliminate a key point of failure for conventional mesh fixation -- the mesh, suture, tissue interface -- and to provide superior anchor strength.

"This investment will allow Deep Blue Medical to expand our commercial sales team to bring this novel ventral hernia mesh to more surgeons,” said Bill Perry, chief executive officer of Deep Blue.

The funding will also support the development of related products, including a biosynthetic version of the T-Line Hernia Mesh; a coated anti-adhesion version of the mesh for minimally invasive surgery; and an absorbable anchor clip for faster, easier implantation.

Hernia mesh by Deep Blue.
Hernia mesh. --Deep Blue image

The funding round was led by BayMed Venture Partners, a San Francisco firm that invests in early-stage medical device and digital health companies.

"We look forward to working closely with the Deep Blue leadership team to help bring their innovative and clinically needed pipeline of surgical products to market as we draw on our past experience of effectively launching important new medical devices with high-growth companies" said Gary Gershony, M.D., founding general partner of BayMed. Gershony will join Deep Blue’s board of directors.

Neil Meyer, co-founding general partner of BayMed, said, "We believe Deep Blue has tremendous growth opportunities and is a great example of a compelling investment where BayMed will add significant value to support achievement of key milestones.”

Deep Blue was founded in 2015 by Howard Levinson, M.D., a plastic surgeon and researcher at Duke University. The North Carolina Biotechnology Center provided the university a $75,000 Technology Enhancement Grant to support Levinson's hernia mesh work in 2016. Levinson is chief medical officer at Deep Blue and is on the company’s board of directors.

NCBiotech then provided Deep Blue a $250,000 loan in 2017 and a $200,000 Small Business Research Loan in 2019 to support a filing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking marketing clearance for the T-Line Hernia Mesh. The product was authorized for sale in 2020.

More than 1.5 million abdominal hernia repairs are performed each year globally, and hernia surgeries generate billions of dollars in clinical cost. Nevertheless, there remains an unacceptably high rate of hernia repair failure, according to Deep Blue.

"The T-Line Hernia Mesh is increasingly preferred by surgeons due to its unique design, 275% greater fixation strength compared to conventional mesh-suture attachment, and superior surgical experience, such as providing optimal mesh tension,” Perry said.

Hernias occur when layers of the abdominal muscle become weak or tear, allowing an internal organ or tissue to bulge under the skin. They may start as a small lump but can grow large and may require surgical repair.

The global market for hernia devices is about $1.1 billion, according to Deep Blue.

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
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