April 27, 2012 | The Bulletin

April 27, 2012 | The Bulletin

ByJordan Novet / The Bulletin

Published: April 27. 2012 4:00AM PST

Following a $4 million investment late last year from venture-capital firms in California and Arizona, Bend company Clear Catheter Systems Inc. has been developing new products and positioning itself for wider distribution of its system to keep chest tubes clear after surgery.

The medical-device company has taken on investments for years. But the $4 million funding marked the first time it went beyond working with smaller-scale angel investors and entered the big-league realm of larger and more conservative institutional capital raising.

The money is helping the company broaden its reach in the United States and beyond, with the hire of a new chief commercialization officer tasked with expanding distribution, said the company’s CEO, Dr. Ed Boyle.

“It’s one thing to make the product, get it approved, get your early clinical feedback — and that’s kind of where we were by the end of 2011,” Boyle said.“Now we need to create, basically, a commercialization platform that has all the pieces in place so that we can expand the distribution.”

At the same time, the company has started to make its main product, called the Pleura Flow Active Tube Clearance System, with different materials and indifferent sizes, Boyle said.

And recently the company has been paying contractors to conduct research and development on still other products. Boyle said those could hit markets in about a year.

Boyle declined to say how much of the new money the company has gone through, saying only that employees are “staying within our budget.”

Clear Catheter’s continuing development falls in line with that of other biotechnology companies in Central Oregon.

Bend biopesticide maker Suterra has proposed adding more manufacturing space to its facility at Juniper Ridge. Pharmaceutical-technology developer Bend Research Inc. has been making new connections with drug companies or bolstering existing ones in the past year.

As for Clear Catheter, last year it began working with an Arizona company to manufacture its Pleura Flow product, Boyle said, and it has since won national medical-device awards, including a Medical Design Excellence Award from Los Angeles-based trade-show operator UBM Canon.

The company was the first to take money away from the Bend Venture Conference,which invested $100,000 in the company in 2006. In 2010, it received a $1.2million investment from the Oregon Angel Fund, according to The Bulletin’s archives.

Boylecontinues to spend about half of his working hours on Clear Catheteractivities. The rest are dedicated to his work as a heart surgeon; he isaffiliated with the Inovia Vein SpecialtyCenter in Bend and performs surgeries at St. CharlesBend.

Hedoesn’t view his time-splitting as a negative.

“Iactually think the nice thing about being a practicing physician is it keeps meclose to the (clinical) world, and it allows me to kind of bridge that gap withthe medical device side,” Boyle said.

Jim Coonan, Economic Development for Central Oregon’s venture catalyst manager,said it’s rare for a Bend company to receive venture-capital funding — some companies don’t want or need that much money — although it’s not so uncommon among companies in bioscience and medical-device industries.

Coonan attributed some of Clear Catheter’s success to its taking advantage of smaller capital-raising opportunities, such as the Bend Venture Conference. Small investments can bring attention and, later, bigger investments, he said.

“It’sreally a sequence, and a connected sequence,” Coonan said. “It sort of underlies the importance of using local infrastructure to get you up each one of thesesteps and to progress to (becoming) a company in its growth trajectory.”

— Reporter: 541-633-2117,

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