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Company funding

Aspire Bariatrics raises US$5 million in funding round

The company has raised some US$31.2 million to date

Aspire Bariatrics has raised US$5 million in a private stock sale, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company has raised more US$31.2 million since it was founded in 2005.

The company has developed the AspireAssist system, which is an endoscopically-implanted tube which leaves the stomach through a stoma, and a pump which attaches to a port on the outside of the stomach and removes a portion of the food eaten after the meal, replacing it with water.

The AspireAssist works by reducing the calories absorbed by the body. After eating, food travels to the stomach immediately, where it is temporarily stored and the digestion process begins. Over the first hour after a meal, the stomach begins breaking down the food, and then passes the food on to the intestines, where calories are absorbed. The AspireAssist allows patients to remove about 30% of the food from the stomach before the calories are absorbed into the body, causing weight loss. Emptying the tube takes about five minutes. The device can be installed in a 20-minute outpatient procedure, under local anaesthetic.

The device was invented by Samuel Klein, the William H Danforth professor of medicine and nutritional science and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri; Moshe Shike, attending physician and director of clinical nutrition at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York; and Stephen Solomon, attending physician and chief of interventional radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

The inspiration for the device came originally from the surgeons’ experience using percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tubes, which deliver food directly into a patient’s stomach. They realised that the same concept in reverse could work to remove food instead.

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