Belgian med-tech innovator iSTAR Medical secures €20 million European financing from the EIB

EIB logo
  • The EIB has signed a €20 million quasi-equity agreement with Belgian-based medical technology company iSTAR Medical SA
  • iSTAR Medical’s innovative device MINIject® is expected to set new standards in terms of ophthalmic implants for patients suffering glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world.
  • iSTAR Medical will use the funding to accelerate its R&D and Product Development activities specifically in clinical trials, regulatory matters and commercialisation
  • The operation is carried out under the Pan-European Guarantee Fund (EGF) set up by the EIB with EU countries including Belgium
Financing EIB

WAVRE, Belgium and LUXEMBOURG — 26 November 2021: The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €20 million quasi-equity financing agreement with the Belgian medical technology company iSTAR Medical, based in Wavre, Belgium. The announcement and official signing took place at the headquarters of the company on 26 November, led by Kris Peeters, EIB Vice President and Michel Vanbrabant, CEO of iSTAR Medical, with the participation of Willy Borsus, Minister of Economy of Wallonia and (by videoconference) Michel Lussier, President of the Board of Directors of iSTAR Medical.

iSTAR Medical is a medical technology company developing minimally-invasive implants for glaucoma surgery (MIGS). Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness,1 affecting about 100 million people worldwide.2 iSTAR Medical’s aim with its innovative MIGS device, MINIject®, is to effectively treat more patients with MIGS. Data reported to date by iSTAR Medical across four trials in over 150 patients, consistently show that MINIject® demonstrates a balance of powerful and sustained intra-ocular pressure (IOP) reduction with a positive safety profile.

MINIject® has been approved in Europe for open-angle glaucoma patients and the company is now entering a crucial phase of its international development as it rolls out MINIject® commercially in select regions across Europe. The EIB’s non-dilutive financing – a quasi-equity facility of €20 million – will support its R&D and Product Development activities specifically in further clinical trials, regulatory matters and the commercialisation phase. The financing is provided under the European Guarantee Fund (EGF), an initiative of the EIB Group in partnership with the EU Member States to support European companies in their development, which can be challenging in this pandemic period.

EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters said at the signing event:

“Supporting innovation and R&D in Europe is one of the EIB’s key goals, and med-techs such as iSTAR Medical are instrumental for Europe’s knowledge economy as they pursue innovation-intensive businesses and employ highly-qualified people. This is where the EIB comes in with tailored-made venture debt instruments.”  He added: “Above all, med-tech and other life science entrepreneurs bring ground-breaking benefits to patients. With MINIject®, its novel ophthalmic implant, iSTAR Medical sets new standards for treating patients suffering from glaucoma, a major cause of blindness, and we are proud to stand by them in their venture.”

Michel Vanbrabant, CEO of iSTAR Medical, commented:

“We are very pleased that we can now use the EIB facility as iSTAR Medical enters into a new and exciting phase following the recent European approval of our breakthrough device, MINIject®. We believe that MINIject® has great potential to improve the lives of glaucoma patients and our ambition is to bring this innovative technology to patients in Europe and beyond.”

Willy Borsus, Vice-President of the Walloon Government, Minister of Economy said at the signing event:

“I would like to congratulate iSTAR Medical on its deployment, its innovation and its commitment to the health sector. Such companies are essential for the economy of our Region, which is already at the forefront of medical technologies and wishes to remain so. I would like to extend my warmest thanks to the EIB for its ongoing support and investment in Wallonia’s economic development”.

 About the EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union’s bank. It is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is the only bank owned by and representing the interests of the EU Member States. It makes finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. See more on www.eib.org.

In Belgium, with some €1.5 billion in 2020 for projects in various sectors ranging from healthcare, education, energy, water and industry to financing for small and medium businesses, the EIB Group made available support equal to 0.30% of Belgian GDP. (Belgium and the EIB)

The European Guarantee Fund (EGF) was set up by the EIB Group with contributions from EU Member States (including Belgium) to support companies during the COVID-19 crisis. Using nearly €25 billion in guarantees, the EGF allows the EIB and the EIF to quickly make loans, guarantees, asset-backed securities, equity and other financial instruments available to mostly small and medium-sized enterprises, and mid-caps. The EGF is part of the European Union’s recovery package aiming to provide a total of €540 billion to boost those parts of the EU economy that have been hit the worst.

About iSTAR Medical

iSTAR Medical is committed to delivering breakthrough eye care solutions. Our most advanced product, MINIject®, is approved in Europe for the treatment of open-angle glaucoma – the leading cause of irreversible blindness1 – and we are aiming to seek market approval in the US. MINIject’s unique tissue-integrating capabilities unlock a safer, and more effective option for patients. We are building an exceptional team and pipeline of best-in-class products such as MINIject® to establish new treatment paradigms in eye care conditions with the highest patient needs. For more information, please visit: www.istarmed.com

About MINIject®

MINIject® is iSTAR Medical’s innovative MIGS device for patients with primary open-angle glaucoma. MINIject® combines the unique porous structure of its proprietary STAR material with the power offered by the supraciliary space. As a result, it is designed to enhance natural fluid outflow, reducing intraocular pressure (IOP) and the need for medication, while bio-integrating with surrounding tissue, limiting inflammation, fibrosis and subsequent complications.

Glaucoma is a progressive disease affecting over 100 million people globally, of which primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form.2,3 IOP reduction, through medication or surgery, helps delay disease progression.2 Medication is generally the first line treatment, but the progressive addition of multiple drops can burden patients with side effects, compliance challenges and costs.2,3 Invasive surgery can present risks with irreversible complications.2,3 MIGS is the most promising and fastest-growing glaucoma therapy due to its enhanced safety profile.2 MINIject® is potentially best-in-class for its promising long-term efficacy and safety.

For visuals and multimedia materials, please go to: https://www.eib.org/en/press/all/2021-427-belgian-med-tech-innovator-istar-medical-secures-european-eur20-million-financing-from-the-eib 

and see the EIB YouTube video: https://youtu.be/d0uLq0Ig7zs  

[1] Jonas JB, Aung T, Bourne RR et al. “Glaucoma”. Lancet 2017; 390: 2083–93

[2] Market Scope, “Glaucoma Surgical Device Market Report”, July 2021.

[3] “European Glaucoma Society Terminology and Guidelines for Glaucoma”, 4th Edition: British Journal of Ophthalmology. 2017;101:1-195 https://bjo.bmj.com/content/101/5/73

iSTAR Medical receives European market approval for glaucoma implant MINIject

  • The only commercially available, minimally invasive supraciliary device for glaucoma now approved
  • First commercial implantations of MINIject successfully carried out by world-leading ophthalmologist Prof. Dr. Burkhard Dick at the University Eye Hospital Bochum, Germany
  • European launch represents pivotal milestone in iSTAR Medical’s commercial strategy to bring MINIject to patients globally
MINIject 5c

WAVRE, Belgium — 17 November 2021: iSTAR Medical, a medtech company pioneering novel minimally-invasive implants for glaucoma surgery (MIGS), today announced that its breakthrough MIGS device, MINIject™, has been approved in Europe for open-angle glaucoma patients. MINIject enables more patients to be effectively treated with MIGS because of its powerful and sustained performance combined with an excellent safety profile.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness affecting around 100 million people worldwide.[1],[2] MIGS represents the most promising and fastest-growing glaucoma therapy, due to its enhanced safety profile compared to traditional surgery. Data reported to date by iSTAR Medical across four trials in over 150 patients, consistently show that MINIject demonstrates a balance of powerful and sustained intra-ocular pressure (IOP) reduction with a positive safety profile.

MINIject’s powerful efficacy and safety make it optimal for treatment in a broader glaucoma population, meaning flexibility for use in a greater number of procedures. iSTAR Medical is now rolling out MINIject commercially in select regions across Europe and is delighted that its first commercial implantations have already taken place in Germany.

Michel Vanbrabant, CEO of iSTAR Medical, commented:

With today’s European approval, MINIject becomes the only commercially available MIGS device targeting the supraciliary space as a natural outflow pathway for IOP reduction. This is a major milestone for iSTAR Medical and our mission to bring truly next-generation MIGS devices to the glaucoma community. I want to thank our team, our investors, and our medical partners for their continued belief in a safer and better way to manage glaucoma by targeting the supraciliary space, with an implant powered by our proprietary STAR® material.”

Positive two-year results from iSTAR Medical’s STAR-II European trial were recently presented at the 125th American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) meeting in New Orleans, LA (USA) demonstrating a sustained powerful efficacy and safety outcome in patients with open-angle glaucoma, consistent with all MINIject trial outcomes to date.

Professor Dr. Burkhard Dick, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at University Eye Hospital Bochum, Germany, and one of the MINIject STAR-II trial investigators, treated the first patient with MINIject after European approval. He commented:

“I’m very pleased that I’m now able to offer the MINIject supraciliary device as a treatment option to my mild-to-moderate glaucoma patients, the first of which was treated successfully today,” he said. “Based on results so far, MINIject may open up new treatment paradigms for patients with glaucoma across Europe.”

David Stocker, VP Sales & Marketing at iSTAR Medical added:

“The launch of our first product in Europe sets iSTAR Medical on a very promising trajectory for future value generation. With its unique product characteristics, MINIject has the potential to gain a significant share of the growing wider market for glaucoma treatments and amongst its peers in the MIGS segment. Our ambition is to make this novel MIGS solution available to a broad patient community and grow the organisation, our network and our international footprint to meet the size of the opportunity.”

Furthermore, MINIject is currently being investigated in iSTAR Medical’s pivotal STAR-V study, which was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2021, the results of which will be instrumental to gain commercial access for MINIject in the US market. The study will enrol over 350 patients with primary open-angle glaucoma.

About iSTAR Medical

iSTAR Medical is committed to delivering breakthrough eye care solutions. Our most advanced product, MINIject, is approved in Europe for the treatment of open-angle glaucoma – the leading cause of irreversible blindness[2] – and is progressing towards market approval in the US. MINIject’s unique tissue-integrating capabilities unlock a safer, and more effective option for patients. We are building an exceptional team and pipeline of best-in-class products such as MINIject to establish new treatment paradigms in eye care conditions with the highest patient needs. For more information, please visit: www.istarmed.com

About MINIject

MINIject is iSTAR Medical’s revolutionary MIGS device for patients with primary open-angle glaucoma. MINIject combines the unique porous structure of its proprietary STAR material with the power offered by the supraciliary space. As a result, it is designed to enhance natural fluid outflow, reducing intraocular pressure (IOP) and the need for medication, while bio-integrating with surrounding tissue, limiting inflammation, fibrosis and subsequent complications.

About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a progressive disease affecting over 100 million people globally, of which primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form.[1][2] IOP reduction, through medication or surgery, helps delay disease progression.[3] Medication is generally the first line treatment, but the progressive addition of multiple drops can burden patients with side effects, compliance challenges and costs.[1][3] Invasive surgery can present risks with irreversible complications.[1][3] MIGS is the most promising and fastest-growing glaucoma therapy due to its enhanced safety profile.[1] MINIject is potentially best-in-class for its promising long-term efficacy and safety.

[1] Market Scope, “Glaucoma Surgical Device Market Report”, August 2020. https://www.market-scope.com/pages/reports/202/2020-glaucoma-surgical-device-market-report-a-global-analysis-for-2019-to-2025-august-2020

[2] Jonas JB, Aung T, Bourne RR et al. “Glaucoma”. Lancet 2017; 390: 2083–93

[3] “European Glaucoma Society Terminology and Guidelines for Glaucoma”, 4th Edition: British Journal of Ophthalmology. 2017;101:1-195 https://bjo.bmj.com/content/101/5/73

iSTAR Medical present final results from STAR-II European trial for MINIject in glaucoma patients at AAO

Data from STAR-II trial show consistently outstanding performance and safety in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma up to two-years post implantation

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iSTAR Medical receives U.S. FDA approval to start pivotal trial for MINIject in glaucoma patients

MINIject next to US penny
World-leading surgeons to join iSTAR Medical’s STAR-V study

WAVRE, Belgium — 15 July 2021: iSTAR Medical, a med-tech company developing minimally-invasive implants for glaucoma surgery (MIGS), announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted it Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) to start a pivotal trial with MINIjectTM. The STAR-V study will investigate MINIjectTM in over 350 patients with primary open angle glaucoma. World-leading glaucoma surgeons in the US, Canada and Europe will join the trial.

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iSTAR Medical recruits Paul van Hagen as CFO

WAVRE, Belgium — 29 June 2021: iSTAR Medical, a med-tech company developing minimally-invasive implants for glaucoma treatment, announced today that Paul van Hagen has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

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