Eraser-Sized Valve From Pulmonx Helps Patients Breathe Easier

For people with emphysema and other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPDs), every breath counts. Lungs become inflamed and obstructed, causing them to stretch and eventually tear. Once these diseases progress to stages 3 and 4, treatment options become limited and often invasive.

California-based Pulmonx created the FDA-approved Zephyr Valve to treat patients with advanced stages of emphysema and other COPDs. The endobronchial valve can be implanted during a minimally invasive procedure — a huge improvement from previous treatments, which centered around lung reduction surgery. The Zephyr Valve is only about the size of a pencil eraser and is reported to produce almost immediate relief.

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In a one-time procedure that generally lasts under an hour, valves that block air from entering damaged areas of the lung are inserted via a bronchoscopy. Blocking these sections of the lung prevents air from being trapped there and allows the healthy sections of the lung to expand and function at a higher level. The process requires no incisions, which also means surgical risks and recovery times are greatly reduced.

Recently, Pulmonx filed with the SEC hoping to secure $86 million in an IPO. The company previously filed in February 2020 but withdrew after raising $66 million in private funds. They will be listed in Nasdaq under the symbol LUNG. While pricing terms have yet to be disclosed, they did name BofA Securities, Morgan Stanley, Stifel, Wells Fargo Securities, and Canaccord Genuity as bookrunners.

“We are pleased to be able to accelerate our efforts to bring our landmark technology to severe emphysema patients who need it,” said Pulmonx’s CEO, Glen French. “The recently secured financing will ensure we are able to continue to scale our commercialization efforts to meet the global demand for our Zephyr Valve System, as well as continue R&D efforts on new minimally-invasive pulmonary treatments.”

Financing will also go toward continuing the global expansion of their product. In the U.S. alone, COPD is the third-leading cause of death. In 2020, the condition was responsible for almost $50 billion in direct medical costs, creating a massive burden to the system. The Zephyr Valve restores normal breathing, helping to reduce that burden and allowing patients to return to their everyday routines and quality of life.