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Boston Scientific acquires University of Iowa startup Farapulse for $295M

Boston Scientific has exercised its option to acquire the remaining shares of University of Iowa startup Farapulse, which has developed a method for precisely and safely treating abnormal heart rhythms.

Last September, Boston Scientific signed an investment agreement with an option to acquire Farapulse.

Boston Scientific has been an investor in Farapulse since 2014 and currently holds an equity stake of approximately 27%. The $295 million buyout for the 73% stake not yet owned will give Boston Scientific 100% ownership. After the initial transaction is complete, the deal also includes an additional $92 million in payments if certain clinical and regulatory milestones are hit as well as revenue-based payments for the next three years.

Farapulse’s technology silences heart signals that cause irregular heartbeats in atrial fibrillation, without damaging nearby tissue. Unlike current cardiac ablation devices, which scar heart muscle using either radiofrequency energy or extreme temperatures, Farapulse’s tech uses electrical fields. The company maintains that this allows greater precision than existing techniques. 

Farapulse was founded in 2012 by University of Iowa Assistant Professor Steven Mickelsen. Mickelson served as the company’s acting president and CEO until Allan Zingeler joined the company as CEO in 2014. Mickelson stepped down to become the Chief Science Officer of the company for a short period and left the organization after the company relocated from Iowa City to its current location in Menlo Park, California.

“I am humbled by the extraordinary success of Farapulse and recognize the efforts and time so many people dedicated in bringing my original vision to fruition,” Mickelsen said in a statement.

Farapulse’s system received a CE mark earlier this year, making it commercially available in Europe. Around the same time, Farapulse kicked off its FDA-cleared clinical trial of the system, which will compare the effects of its atrial fibrillation treatment to traditional methods.

Boston Scientific has been on an acquisition streak lately, having already acquired two companies prior to Farapulse this year—wearable heart monitor maker Preventice for $1.2 billion in January and Lumenis’ surgical laser business for $1 billion in March.

 The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.

Boston Scientific acquires University of Iowa startup Farapulse for $295M | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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