This Company Raised $27 Million for a Weight Loss Balloon You Can Swallow in a Pill

July 11, 2017, 8:35 PM UTC

Beyond diet and exercise, Americans who need to lose significant weight—whether to guard against diabetes, heart disease, or other obesity-related illnesses—don’t have a lot of ideal options. Bariatric surgery is invasive, risky, and expensive. Certain medications carry the chance of harmful side effects. But what if you could take a pill that provides an entirely different kind of avenue for weight loss?

That’s what Allurion Technologies has set out to do with its Elipse Balloon device. And the company just raised $27 million to support its flagship product—an inflatable gastric balloon that you can take in a pill, no surgery required. According to the company, clinical studies in Europe have shown that people treated with Elipse lost an average of 33 pounds.

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The Series C funding round was led by Romulus Capital and joined by other investors such as Cogepa Investments and Innovation Development Oman. Allurion wants to use the money to both scale manufacturing and set up clinical trials in the U.S. that could eventually make the product available in America.

“At Allurion, one of our goals is to disrupt the weight loss industry with products that are more effective than dieting but also affordable and scalable,” said Allurion co-founder Dr. Shantanu Gaur in a statement. “Our initial success with the Elipse Balloon validates this approach, and this funding will assist us in serving the millions of people around the world who are struggling to lose weight.”

The technology itself is pretty simple. You take a pill that contains the inflatable balloon; in the stomach, it’s filled up with a liquid via a detachable catheter. It stays swollen within the stomach for about four months, after which it simply opens up, deflates, and then passes through the body the good old-fashioned way.

Not only does this system eliminate the need for surgery or anesthesia or other invasive procedures—it’s much cheaper than the alternatives. “We wanted to make weight loss affordable, since insurance usually won’t cover a non-permanent weight loss method,” Gaur told Fortune earlier this year.

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