News Column

Charleston area cataract device firm gets investment from SC Launch

August 28, 2014

By John McDermott, The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.



Aug. 28--SC Launch has finalized a $200,000 investment in a Mount Pleasant-based business that's developing an incision system for use in cataract surgeries.

The financing arm of SCRA Technology Ventures announced in May it would provide capital to International BioMedical Devices LLC.

The 14-month-old startup plans to use the funds for operating capital, CEO Steve Bryant said Thursday.

"The money certainly will come in handy," he said.

IBMD's licensed product is called ApertureRx System, which is based on technology developed by an Israeli doctor. It's designed to emit quick bursts of low-dose heat to make an incision in the eye.

"It's a precise way to position and remove a perfectly circular piece of tissue out of the cataract lens," Bryant said.

ApertureRx will be priced at around $25,000 when it hits the U.S. market, he estimated. For the most part, surgeons rely on manual techniques or laser systems to make cataract incisions, Bryant added.

"But the capital costs on those lasers are quite high, in the range of half a million dollars," he said.

IBMD is now working with vendors to look at the tooling it will need to manufacture the devices. It's also lining up seed capital from other investors.

Bryant said he worked for medical device companies for 35 years and commuted for two decades from the Charleston region.

"I was an airplane jockey," he said. "I've been traveling around the world doing this."

SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney said IBMD's goal is to make the devices in South Carolina.

"Supporting innovative technology and additional manufacturing jobs for our state will continue to strengthen our knowledge economy," Mahoney said in a written statement.

Bryant said the site has not been selected.

"We want to stay in the Lowcountry," he said. "That's our goal."

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.

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(c)2014 The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.)

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Source: Post & Courier (Charleston, SC)


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