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March 31, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Knoxville’s iO Urology completes a $19.4 million Series A round

The announcement comes about a year after the company won the third annual PYA-sponsored Ballard Innovation Award.

About a year after winning the third annual PYA-sponsored Ballard Innovation Award, iO Urology announced that the Knoxville-based start-up has raised $19.4 million in a Series A funding round led by Solas BioVentures of Chattanooga, two urologic strategic organizations, Launch Tennessee, and Jumpstart Capital.

“It is a good raise; we feel really good,” says Britton Garrett, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of iO Urology. In addition to the amount raised, another good reason to have those feelings is the start-up secured funding from two strategics which is always a good sign of significant progress.

One of those strategics is Laborie Medical Technologies Corp. which cited the investment in this company-issued news release.

“The team at iO Urology developed a state-of-the-art device with a dynamic patient ecosystem that empowers patient engagement as a superior standard of care,” said Tim Panciera, Vice President and General Manager of Laborie’s Urology Business Unit. “Our missions are closely aligned, making this a natural investment to continue accelerating Laborie’s position and expertise in the advanced diagnostics market.”

For Garrett, the investment success is testimony to the company’s technology that allows iO Urology to do things that were impossible previously.

“We’ve been asked how we got two strategics to participate in the round, that’s unusual?” He said that he believes it was a sign of the progress that the company has made in being the first and thus far only remote patient monitoring system for urologic care at home.

“With this funding, we get to change the paradigm of care for those with an overactive bladder and BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia, a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland),” Garrett said.

Under development since 2016, iO Urology’s signature product is the CarePath® platform that offers real-time, quantitative measurement via an embedded cellular connection of uroflow and urine output. The system offers advantages for both the physician and patient while also addressing the very serious issue of return visits to a urologist that sometimes can be as much as six months out schedule wise.

As described in a article from February 2023, the iO Urology process is simple and non-invasive. The patient urinates into the CarePath® device recording every void for two days. The flow rate, duration, and volumetric data are collected and stored in the cloud. Healthcare providers, urologists, and urogynecologists (for Overactive Bladder) can then analyze the data in real time to detect, track, and treat common lower urinary tract symptoms before issues escalate.

“We have 19,000 voids (another term for urination) in our dataset,” Garrett says. Those individual events provide what he describes as a “unique lens into the disease path” that “enlightens physicians on how the patient lives in their own environment.”

The company holds 77 patents in seven countries for the CarePath® Class 2 device as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. More than 45,000 engineering hours went into its development.

The new funding will allow for an expansion of the team, with some in Knoxville, and ready the organization to scale more quickly by building inventory and distribution capability.

Garrett has a long history in the healthcare and medical device space, serving with well-known industry firm Medtronic for 11 years. He joined iO Urology in October 2020 as Chief of Corporate Strategy, was named Chief Operating Officer a year later, and CEO in May 2022. Garrett and Co-Founder David Gilliam relocated the company to Knoxville from Elizabethton where two physicians – Brent Laing and John Green – launched the company after selling a previous start-up to Medtronic. Gilliam has been in the urology/urogynecology space for almost 30 years holding positions at Medtronic as well as Johnson & Johnson. He currently serves as Vice President of Market Development.

NOTE: The fourth annual Ballard Innovation Award will be presented after five companies pitch at an event April 10 that starts at 3 p.m. at Jewelry Television. To register, click here.

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