A CHF 500’000 loan to support Comphya’s efforts in bringing a solution for erectile disorders
The start-up, based at EPFL Innovation Park, conceived the first implantable neurostimulator enabling patients with erectile disorders to activate the nerve responsible for penile erections thanks to a wireless remote control. The already well-established company has just received a Tech Growth loan of CHF500’000 from the Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT).
Comphya’s patented technology “CaverSTIM” consists of a neurostimulator being implanted in the pelvic cavity and paired with a wireless remote control that enables the patient to selectively stimulate the nerve responsible for triggering penile erection. The medical device start-up firstly targets patients with erectile disorders that do not respond to oral treatments like Viagra – nearly 30% of them. These are typically patients with disrupted or dysfunctional neural pathways, such as spinal cord injury and post-prostatectomy patients, who resort to painful, problematic and outdated methods: intrapenile injections of vasodilators or penile implants.
With CaverSTIM, Comphya wants to improve the quality of life of these patients: more than 500’000 persons suffer from spinal cord injuries in the US and EU and 420’000 radical surgeries (prostatectomies and cystectomy) are performed each year, leading in most cases to inevitable disruption of the neural pathway for erectile function. Comphya’s technology provides them with a painless, safe, non-traumatic, and more effective alternative.
Co-founded in 2017, Comphya benefits from the solid experience in medtech, biomedical technologies, and biology of its three co-founders: Dr. Rodrigo A. Fraga-Silva, Dr. Nikos Stergiopulos and Dr. Mikael Sturny, who can also count on Dr. Steve Swinson, Chairman of the Board, with extensive experience and success in healthcare companies and the venture space. The promising team has indeed received support and awards from Vaud’s Office for innovation and economic affairs (SPEI), Venture Leaders and Venture Kick, as well as a first loan from FIT in 2017. Comphya also won the Tech Tour European Venture Contest. After raising CHF 3 million in a seed investment round in 2019, the start-up is now conducting a bridge financing of one million francs, of which the Tech Growth loan is a part.
“This second loan from FIT will help us move towards the execution and completion of the pilot clinical trials, a major milestone for Comphya to bring out CaverSTIM to benefit erectile disorders patients”, explained Dr. Rodrigo A. Fraga-Silva, Comphya’s CEO. The pilot clinical trials will assess the device safety and preliminary efficacy in spinal cord injury and prostatectomy patients and are planned to start in the second quarter of 2021. A Series A investment round of CHF 15 million is then planned by the end of 2021 to further develop Comphya and democratise access to an easy effective treatment to erectile disorders.
Dr. Rodrigo A. Fraga-Silva
Co-founder and CEO