Earlens Corporation, Inc, a privately held medtech company committed to improving hearing aids, announced it has completed an $87 million preferred stock financing round led by new investor KCK Ltd, a family investment fund. Proceeds from this round of financing will be allocated to continued product development and the enhanced, 2019 commercial rollout, according to the company’s announcement.
Additional investors included Exor Seeds and previous investors Lightstone Ventures, CRG Partners, Windham Life Sciences Partners, Arch Healthcare, Relativity Health Fund, New Enterprise Associates, Aisling Capital, Vertex Global Healthcare, MS Pace LP, Cochlear, Mellon Foundation, Baltisches Haus Limited, GDN Holdings, Sightline Healthcare Opportunity, and Far East Ventures.
“KCK Group believes Earlens has created the most significant advance in hearing aid technology in decades,” said Greg Garfield, senior managing director, KCK Medical Technologies Group. “The dynamic listening range of this unique product is twice as broad as anything in the market. We feel confident it’s game changing and will establish a new, extraordinarily high performance standard for consumers.”
Unlike conventional hearing aids that deliver amplified sound through tiny speakers, the Earlens system is said to use a small lens that’s placed on the eardrum by a physician. It wirelessly receives a signal that’s designed to be converted into natural sound which an audiologist can fine-tune to suit each user’s preference.
This technology also helps eliminates the major source of the feedback, or “whistling,” commonly experienced with conventional hearing aids, according to Earlens.
”Our team of medical experts, engineers, and technologists have spent nearly a decade developing and refining this small, highly effective device. We feel confident it can benefit many of the 35 million Americans who have significant hearing loss” said Bill Facteau, CEO and president of Earlens. “To make that happen, we are grateful for the support and feedback of our investors, advisors, and early adopters as we continue refining the Earlens system to be the world’s best solution for improving hearing.”
“On behalf of the company and existing investors, we are pleased to welcome KCK Group as we continue working on delivering the best clinical and listening experiences to medical professionals, audiologists, and their patients,” said Tom Prescott, Chairman of Earlens.
KCK Group managers Nael Kassar, Greg Garfield, and Mike Favet are joining the Board of Directors with Chairman Tom Prescott; Hank Plain of Lightstone Ventures; Founder and Chief Medical Officer Rodney Perkins, MD; and President and CEO, Bill Facteau.
Hearing Review has published several articles on the Earlens light-driven hearing aid, including a February Q&A on the device’s features and benefits and a comparison of bandwidth and maximum gain between six RIC hearing aids and the Earlens light-driven system.
The company has developed the Earlens Contact Hearing Aid, said to be “the first non-surgical hearing device to directly activate the hearing system.” In late 2015, the FDA cleared a De Novo premarket submission allowing Earlens to market their Contact Hearing Aid. Incorporated in 2005, Earlens Corporation is headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif.