Company Profile: NeuWave Medical

Products:  NeuWave Medical develops and commercializes energy-based, minimally invasive, medical devices to physicians and medical centers worldwide. The medical devices deliver energy to the human body to treat various medical conditions. In some cases its products are used to treat patients suffering with lung, liver or kidney cancer who are too sick to have surgery. NeuWave develops Certus 140, a soft tissue ablation system that uses microwave energy to destroy tumor cells.

Location: Madison, Wis.

Founded: The company was founded in 2004 by a group of engineers and physicians at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who wanted to improve the ability to treat cancer and other important clinical problems.

Leadership: Dr. Fred Lee is the founder of NeuWave Medical, as well as a Medical Imaging professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an abdominal radiologist and an expert in the field of tumor ablation.  He also is the founder of the clinical and research tumor ablation program at UW-Madison, one of the first such programs in the U.S. Today, Dr. Lee is a member of the Board of Directors at NeuWave.

Operations/Market: NeuWave’s Certus 140 soft tissue ablation product is currently in the commercialization phase. The system uses microwave energy at 2.45GHz, a subset of the radio frequency spectrum, to ablate soft tissue. The Certus 140 is designed for use during both minimally invasive needle-puncture procedures and open surgery. The Certus 140 is engineered to be the premier soft tissue ablation system available worldwide, maximizing power delivery to create large, predictable ablation zones.

The small diameter of the industry leading 17-gauge ablation probes helps decrease bleeding and other complications when compared with larger diameter probes. A revolutionary CO2-based cooling system enables physicians to safely utilize up to 140 Watts of power on a single channel. Tissu-LocTM technology brings additional differentiation to the Certus 140 by enabling physicians to secure the probes to the tissue upon placement.

“The speed, power and ability to create large ablation zones are features that should increase efficiency in the radiology suite and operating room.” said Dr. Lee. “Additionally, the high power and effective energy delivery are near-ideal for use in coagulation for hemostasis.”

Key features of the Certus 140 include:

  • Patented triaxial antenna design.
  • Small diameter 17-gauge needle size for use in minimally invasive procedures.
  • Excellent visibility under CT and ultrasound to assist physicians during probe placement .

NeuWave anticipates the Certus 140 will be used by Interventional Radiologists and Surgical Oncologists to coagulate and ablate soft tissue.

Business Success: In 2011, NeuWave leveraged $2.7 million in angel investments and $4.7 million in Qualified Venture Fund investments. By September 2012, the company reported it had raised $14 million in a second round of financing. H.I.G. BioVentures, an investor in the company, led the funding round. Other investors include Venture Investors, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. In addition to the $14 million round closed in 2012, the company raised $15.7 million in private investments from 2007-2011.

The NeuWave Certus 140 ablation system has been commercially available for 18 months, and in that time has effectively treated around 1,500 patients. NeuWave aims to continue to raise more capital to continue developing minimally invasive tools for surgery and other medical uses. The company serves markets that represent about $1 billion worth of opportunity.

Wisconsin Business Environment Benefits: To help NeuWave reach commercialization for its Certus 140 product, the state provided the following assistance:

  • 2006: $3,000 Technology Assistance Grant to assist the company in applying for federal grant funding.
  • 2009: NeuWave received a $2 million federal Small Business Innovation Research grant.
  • 2010: NeuWave received $2 million QNBV tax credits from WEDC.
  • 2010: $450,000 Technology Development Loan for working capital.

To learn more:

(April 2014)