ZUG, Switzerland, March 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- NovaShunt AG, a private Swiss medical device company with innovative fluid management technologies, announced today that it has raised CHF 23.7 million (about $25 million) in a Series B preferred share financing round co-led by BioMedInvest AG, Entrepreneurs Fund and Capricorn Health-tech Fund. Existing investors, NeoMed and VI Partners, were also significant participants in the new financing and NeoMed retains its role as the lead investor and largest shareholder of NovaShunt.

NovaShunt's ALFApump System is a proprietary, implantable pump system that continually removes excess abdominal fluid, known as ascites, in patients suffering from liver cirrhosis, certain cancers and congestive heart failure. Refractory ascites occurs when patients with excess ascites no longer respond to medical therapy and it affects over 100,000 patients in Europe and the US every year. The number of patients suffering from ascites is growing due to the accelerating incidence of hepatitis and obesity-related liver disease (NAFLD).

"This is a significant milestone for NovaShunt," said Noel Johnson, CEO and co-founder of NovaShunt. "Fluid overload in ascites and other indications is an area of significant unmet clinical need and represents more than a $1 billion market opportunity for NovaShunt's proprietary technology. Our clinical experience to date has demonstrated that the ALFApump System is safe and highly effective. This financing enables NovaShunt to embark on European commercialization and to conduct clinical studies in the U.S."

"We believe NovaShunt's implantable pump system has the potential to dramatically improve the treatment options for patients suffering from refractory ascites," said Thomas Moller, partner at BioMedInvest. "The ALFApump System can dramatically reduce the cost and burden of care associated with managing refractory ascites while offering improved quality of life for patients."

"We are pleased to be joined by this group of experienced investors and look forward to working closely with them to make NovaShunt's highly innovative ALFApump System available to patients who are in desperate need for alternative treatment options. NovaShunt's core technology is robust and adaptable, with broad potential applications in the management of medical conditions where fluid overload is an issue, including pleural effusions," said Erik Amble, NovaShunt's Chairman and Managing Partner at NeoMed.

As part of the Series B financing, Thomas Moller (BioMedInvest), Els Hubloux (Capricorn) and Maciek Drozdz (Entrepreneurs Fund) will join NovaShunt's Board of Directors.

NovaShunt's ALFApump System consists of a subcutaneously implanted battery-powered pump with a catheter placed in the abdominal cavity and another catheter connected to the bladder. The ALFApump System automatically and continually collects fluid as it forms in the abdominal cavity and moves it to the bladder, where it is eliminated through normal urination.

The Company is currently completing enrollment in the PIONEER Study, a prospective, multi-center, open label study designed to evaluate the safety and performance of the ALFApump System in obviating the need for paracentesis, the standard therapy for patients with refractory ascites. Paracentesis is a procedure in which a large bore needle is inserted into the patient's abdomen, sometimes weekly or bi-weekly, to remove between 5‐10 liters of accumulated ascites. The cumulative cost of repeat paracentesis for these patients often exceeds $25,000 each year.