Ringing in the healthcare-reform debate

(UPDATED: See below.) Ever since the Clinton health plan went down in flames 13 years ago, discussion of significant reforms to the U.S. healthcare system has been largely academic. Until now.

Stealthy device maker Thermocure pulls in $125,000

Thermocure, a new Sunnyvale, Calif., medical-device company, raised $125,000 in a first funding round, VentureWire reports. The funding came from Arboretum Ventures.

Ultrasound clot-buster Ekos raises $10M in debt

Ekos, a Bothell, Wash., maker of ultrasound-enhanced drug-delivery systems, raised $10 million in debt capital from Hercules Technology Growth Capital. The financing will support the sales and marketing of drug-delivery catheters that feature an ultrasound system designed to help drugs break up blood clots more quickly. Ekos launched its catheters in early 2006.

Aperio, digital-pathology innovator, raises $11M

Aperio, a Vista, Calif., maker of systems that digitize medical images for use in the diagnosis of disease, raised $10.6 million from existing investors. It last raised $17 million in a second round of funding in Nov. 2005, and has now garnered a total of $33 million in equity capital. The company’s release is here.

WaveTec Vision Systems takes in $13M for intraocular lens replacement

WaveTec Vision Systems of Aliso Viejo, Calif., raised $13 million in a second round of funding, PEHub reports. The company is developing a system to improve patient outcomes in intraocular lens replacement surgeries. The deal was led by Accuitive Medical Ventures and De Novo Ventures, who were joined by existing investor Versant Ventures.

Implant maker Interventional Spine draws in $24M

Irvine, Calif.-based Interventional Spine raised $24 million in a third round of funding that the company says will support the launch of several new products. The company makes implants and surgical instruments for “percutaneous” spinal operations that feature narrow incisions and, theoretically, less trauma for patients. Here is the company’s release.

Active Implants, pliable hip-device maker, raises $6.7M tranche

Active Implants, a Memphis, Tenn., maker of hip, knee and spine implants, has raised $6.7 million of an expected $21 million second round of funding, VentureWire reports (subscription required). The company’s investors are mostly small local firms and Discure, an Israeli company from which Active Implants has licensed technology.

SpectraGenics draws at least $20M for laser hair removal

SpectraGenics, a Pleasanton, Calif., developer of laser hair-removal devices for home use, raised at least $20 million in a fourth round of funding, VentureWire reports (subscription required). The round was led by De Novo Ventures and Technology Partners; other investors included Aphelion Capital, Incubic Venture Capital and SDL Ventures.

Implant maker Amedica files for $75M IPO

Salt Lake City-based Amedica filed to raise up to $74.8 million in an IPO, just a week after it raised $13.2 million in a fourth funding round. The maker of ceramic implants for spinal and joint repair said it doesn’t expect its first products to reach the market until next year.

Interlace Medical, women’s health company, picks up $5M

Interlace Medical, a stealthy Newton, Mass., developer of gynecological devices, raised $5 million in a first round of funding, VentureWire reports. Spray Ventures and New Leaf Venture Partners led the round. PE Wire reports that the startup is focused on the market for polypectomies and myomectomies, which are surgeries for the removal of polyps and fibroids.

Sonoma Orthopedics raises at least $10M for spinal devices

Sonoma Orthopedics, a stealthy spinal-device maker in Santa Rosa, Calif., raised at least $10 million in a second funding round, VentureWire reports. The company raised $3 million in a first round last April.

Amedica raises $13.2M for spine and joint implants

Amedica, a Salt Lake City maker of ceramic implants for spines and joints, raised $13.2 million in a fourth round of funding. Creation Capital placed the financing. The company had previously raised more than $30 million.

Therative raises $9M for pimple-device ads

Therative, a Livermore, Calif., medical-device maker, raised $9 million in a third round of financing, largely to fund television ads for its consumer-oriented acne product.

Power Medical, surgical-instrument maker, looks to raise $100M from IPO

Power Medical Interventions, a Langhorne, Penn., maker of computer-assisted surgical instruments, filed to raise up to $100 million in an IPO. The company develops precisely controlled “endomechanical” cutters and staplers designed to apply consistent and powerful force in both open and minimally invasive surgeries.

Insulet, insulin-management device maker, raises $116M in IPO

Insulet, a Bedford, Mass, developer of continuous insulin-infusion devices for diabetics, sold 7.7 million shares in an IPO, raising approximately $115 million before fees. The offering was priced at $15 per share, in the middle of Insulet’s range of $14 to $16. Insulet shares rose 6.9% on their first day of trading.

Asthma-device maker Asthmatx sells $50M stake to Olympus

Asthmatx, a Mountain View, Calif., developer of a bronchial device for asthma treatment, raised $50 million by selling a 15% stake to Olympus Medical Systems, a unit of Japan’s camera and precision-device maker Olympus.

Orthopedic Development pulls in $8M for spinal-fusion devices

Orthopedic Development, a Clearwater, Fla., maker of spinal-fusion devices, raised $8 million in an oversubscribed institutional funding round. The private placement, handled by GunnAllen Financial, was entirely funded by individual investors, VentureWire reports (subscription required).

Apnex Medical raises $16.1M for sleep-apnea devices

Apnex Medical, a Minneapolis maker of implants for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, raised $16.1 million in a first round of funding. Participants included Domain Associates, New Enterprise Associates, Polaris Ventures Partners and Apnex Chairman Michael Berman.

StrataGent closes $16M round for needle-free injections

StrataGent Life Sciences, a San Jose developer of needle-free “microjet” injection systems, said it closed a $16 million second round of financing. The company has so far received $6.65 million of that round; the remainder should become available next year if and when StrataGent meets certain milestones.

CVRx, developer of hypertension-treatment devices, draws in $65M

CVRx, a Minneapolis-based developer of an implantable device for the control of high blood pressure, raised $65 million in a fourth round of funding that will support a “pivotal” clinical trial of the device. The round was led by Johnson & Johnson Development, and also included existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Thomas Weisel Healthcare Venture Partners, InterWest Partners, ABS Ventures, Frazier Healthcare Ventures and SightLine Partners. CVRx has so far raised a total of $125 million.

Lung-device maker Pulmonx draws in $20M

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Pulmonx raised $20 million in a second-round funding, VentureWire reports (subscription required).

PET scanner Naviscan pulls in $15M

Naviscan PET Systems, a San Diego maker of high-resolution positron-emission tomography (PET) scanners, raised $15 million in a third round of funding led by QuestMark Partners.

Impres Medical pulls in $3.2M to stop uterine bleeding

Impres Medical, a Minnetonka, Minn. device maker, has raised $3.2 million of a planned $5 million third round, according to an SEC filing cited by VentureWire (subscription required).

Halt Medical raises $12M for fibroids device

Halt Medical, a secretive Pleasanton, Calif., company, has raised $12 million in a third funding round as it prepares for human trials of a device designed to remove uterine fibroids without hysterectomy, VentureWire is reporting (subscription required).

Heathcare venture funding surges in first quarter

Biotechnology and medical-device venture investment soared in the first quarter as funding for information technology and other sectors declined, according to data compiled by Ernst & Young and Dow Jones VentureOne.