Country Roads Angel Network leads funding round for Morgantown's Endolumik to begin commercializing new medical device

Mar. 17—MORGANTOWN — Local surgical device company Endolumik recently closed a $1.5 million investment to commercialize its patented Gastric Calibration Tube, a surgical device used during gastric procedures.

The equity round was led by the Country Roads Angel Network—CRAN—a volunteer investor network based in Beckley, administered by the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority's WV Hive resource program.

CRAN invested $240, 000 in Endolumik in late 2021, when Endolumik was developing the Gastric Calibration Tube, and another $145, 000 this month in round two, for a total CRAN investment of $360, 000.

Calibration tubes are commonly used in gastric and bariatric surgeries. But the tubes are difficult to see inside the stomach, which can lead to medical errors. Endolumik's patented Gastric Calibration Tube incorporates near-infrared LED lights into the tube to improve visualization for the surgical team and enable safer, more standardized surgeries.

In addition, Endolumik recently received FDA 510 (k) clearance of the device. The FDA announced that Endolumik's tube is the first device ever to be authorized under its Safer Technology Program.

"The funding and Safer Technology authorization have set us up for success, " said Mara McFadden, co-founder and CEO of the company. "We are eager to get this novel tool into the hands of surgeons." McFadden said the investment will allow Endolumik to hire three people and build its inventory.

Dr. Nova Szoka, the inventor of the technology and co-founder of Endolumik, said, "Our mission is to provide surgeons with additional visual cues to succeed in the operating room. We believe our technology will allow surgeons to deliver more-consistent results and this will translate to improved patient outcomes."

CRAN Chairman Kevin Combs commented, "Our investors think so much of Endolumik and its leadership that we made a second investment in this innovative medical device company. We are confident that Endolumik, with its innovative visualization techniques, will disrupt the laparoscopic surgical device landscape and create a new standard of excellence."

CRAN's investment in Endolumik comes with a seat on the Endolumik board. As a CRAN investor in Endolumik, Chris Vaught, a Beckley entrepreneur and successful businessman, will be joining the Endolumik board.

Vaught is a CRAN board member and the lead accredited investor on the original Endolumik deal. He then mentored the leaders of Endolumik through other financing and the FDA regulatory process. He led the effort for the second CRAN investment in Endolumik, helping it hit its investment goal.

"The potential for Endolumik—with this medical device and others in progress—is unlimited, " Vaught said. "Working with CEO Mara McFadden and inventor Dr. Nova Szoka since the initial funding round has been rewarding, and the future of this company is very bright."

In a first, CRAN was joined in the round by West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust (WVJIT), which was able to match privately raised funds with State Small Business Credit Initiative investment dollars. "WVJIT is proud to be a partner investor in a deal led by Country Roads Angel Network that includes a host of other private investors, " said Andy Zulauf, executive director at West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust.

"The West Virginia Capital Access Program afforded us the funds necessary to match investments from private funders to leverage a larger round of funding support for Endolumik, " Zulauf said. "We hope this deal serves as a model for the state to work together to fund our best and brightest."

Also invested are Calypso Investment Partners, Cutwater Capital, Varia Ventures and private offices.

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