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Shoulder Innovations, the Holland, MI-based medical device startup, this week announced a $1.5 million Series A round led by the Michigan Angel Fund, with participation from Start Garden, Invest Michigan, Novus Bioventures, Western Michigan University’s Biosciences Research Commercialization Center, and Genesis Innovation Group.

The four-person company, which was founded in 2009, has developed a shoulder replacement system that president and chief operating officer Matt Ahearn says is more durable than traditional shoulder implants.

There’s a small scapula bone in the shoulder called the glenoid, which articulates with the humerus, the long bone in the upper arm. Over time, Ahearn says, the glenoid component of shoulder implants can come loose, which causes pain and inflammation and can require additional surgery to fix. Shoulder implants fail at a much larger rate than knee or hip replacements, he adds.

Shoulder Innovations’ implant, made with the same materials as traditional implants at roughly the same cost, involves patented glenoid InSet™ technology. Ahearn says the company’s device is implanted into the scapula in a new way, making it more stable and less likely to loosen.

The potential market for Shoulder Innovations’ device is sizable and growing. According to Ahearn, more than 100,000 U.S. patients get shoulder replacement surgery each year, with demand increasing by 10 percent annually. Up to half of all shoulder replacement patients are forced to undergo revision surgery within 10 years as a result of conventional glenoid technology coming loose, he says.

In a statement, Genesis Innovation Group chairman Robert Ball said, “The Shoulder Innovations product is a breakthrough for shoulder replacement surgery, and what we’ve seen so far from interactions with surgeons is that [the device] is so simple, straightforward, and efficient … they can get up to speed very quickly.”

The company’s shoulder replacement device is already on the market and approved for use in patients, and Ahearn plans to use the new investment capital to purchase inventory, add sales and marketing staff, and develop new products. He was tight-lipped about the specifics, saying that the company has “a healthy patent portfolio” and it expects to release a “humeral stem product” by the end of 2018.

“We’re seeking to meaningfully reduce the complexity and cost of shoulder replacements,” Ahearn says.