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Guest Blog: Luke Timmerman...How Did Calypso Medical Raise $50M? The Story Behind Seattle’s Biggest VC Deal of 2009


Interesting blog from Luke Timmerman of Xconomy Venture Capital. Luke Timmerman is the National Biotechnology Editor for Xconomy. You can e-mail him at, call 206-624-2374, or follow him on Twitter at ...
Word out of Calypso Medical Technologies the past year hasn’t been what most people would call positive. The Seattle-based medical device company cut one-fifth of its staff in December. Even in its third year on the market, it was still struggling to get Medicare to pay for its devices that pinpoint radiation in ways that are supposed to help minimize side effects of prostate cancer treatment.

So what enabled Calypso to corral $50 million, the Northwest’s biggest venture capital deal of the year so far? That’s what I asked CEO Eric Meier yesterday afternoon after his company dropped that bombshell.

To hear Meier tell the story, a number of small, but important things have been adding up behind the scenes. Calypso first won FDA approval for its technology in July 2006, and at last count, it has now sold its system to nine of the 33 top-ranked cancer centers in the U.S.. Calypso cut a deal this summer with Varian Medical Systems—the dominant maker of radiation therapy machines with 70 percent U.S. market share—in which Varian will incorporate the Calypso technology into its machines. Data from clinical trials is starting to pile up that says the company’s technology works for other tumors in the pancreas and lungs. And Calypso has a chance to tap into some new markets, since it has recently received approval from regulators in Canada and the European Union.

“It’s really about execution for us,” Meier says. “The technology risk is behind us, the clinical risk is behind us.”...

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Comment by Gerry Higgins on September 20, 2009 at 9:52am
The clinical risk is behind us?
5% survive pancreatic cancer at 5 years, no matter what the treatment, and prostate cancer survival rates are usually greatly over-stated. I realize he is talking about their specific technology, but let's think about the medical outcomes for these diseases.

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