May 28, 2024


Sapiens Digital

Local startup Carlsmed lands $30M to bring personalized spine surgery tech to more patients


Med-tech startup Carlsmed said Tuesday that it picked up an additional $30 million in venture capital to drive its digital platform for personalized, 3-D printed spinal implants to improve the success rate of certain back surgeries.

The second round of venture funding was led by B Capital Group, a global investment firm. Existing investors, U.S. Venture Partners, The Vertical Group, Cove Fund and Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health also participated.

It brings the total raised by the Carlsbad-based company to $42.5 million since it was founded in 2018.

“Carlsmed represents a great opportunity to potentially transform spine surgery into a more personalized surgical procedure,” said Dr. Robert Mittendorff, an emergency physician and general partner with B Capital Group, in an interview. “The market they are going after is massive and relatively underserved with existing technology from a clinical perspective.”

A Carlsmed personalized, 3-D printed spinal implant

A Carlsmed personalized, 3-D printed spinal implant

(Courtesy of Carlsmed)

The 40-employee company has developed patented, machine learning technology that taps a patient’s X-ray and CT scans, along with other information, to design a digital surgical plan to achieve the best spinal alignment.

Carlsmed, in coordination with the surgeon, then produces personalized, 3-D printed titanium implants based on the plan.

Called “aprevo,” the implants target adults with degenerative curvature of the spine and other deformities that can lead to lower back and leg pain, among other things. These conditions affect about 6 million adults in the U.S. — a potential $9 billion market.

The current success rate for spinal surgeries to correct these ailments is not great, said Mike Cordonnier, chief executive and co-founder of Carlsmed. More than a quarter of patients require additional revision surgery within four years of their first procedure.

Conventional spinal implants come in a variety of shapes, and it is up to surgeons to find the best fit through a trial-and-error process. Because Carlsmed’s implants are designed for every patent individually, the company believes it can achieve better spinal alignment outcomes and avoid additional procedures

“Our philosophy is we are designing the optimal surgical plan — and devices for that surgical plan — so it can be the last spine surgery a patient needs,” said Cordonnier.

A couple of years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Carlsmed’s implants for use in certain spine surgeries.

Then in October, Medicare authorized an additional reimbursement — on top of its standard payout — for hospitals using Carlsmed’s implants.

“It is really a program that is designed to incentivize technology that can improve the standard of care and decrease the cost of care over the lifetime of the patient,” said Cordonnier. “That has been a real door opener for us in starting our commercial rollout to be able to give the hospitals an extra economic incentive to adopt this transformative technology.”

The company plans to use the new funding to further expand its hospital base. As part of the round, Mittendorff will join Carlsmed’s board of directors.

“Using computational technology to create implants for a single patient, I think, is the future for a number of specialties, with spine obviously being one of the first,” said Mittendorff.


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