Redmond-based medical device maker Spiration said Tuesday it had raised $18.5 million from existing investors to fund the launch of its...

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Redmond-based medical device maker Spiration said Tuesday it had raised $18.5 million from existing investors to fund the launch of its first commercial product in Europe and the completion of pending clinical trials in the U.S.

The company, which specializes in developing technology to treat lung disease, has raised some $97 million since its inception in 1999. Early last year, the company received the go-ahead from European regulators to market its first product, a valve system that redirects air flow from parts of the lungs affected by severe emphysema into healthy areas. It is still negotiating with a distributor to begin selling the device.

In the U.S., the company still has to finish a clinical trial before applying for approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell the device here. The testing will take at least a couple of years, said Chief Executive Richard Shea.

“The money is going to take us through that exercise,” Shea said.

Closely held Spiration has 45 employees in Redmond. The latest financing round was led by Versant Ventures. Olympus Medical Systems, New Enterprise Associates, New Leaf Venture Partners, InterWest Partners, Investor Growth Capital and Three Arch Partners also participated.

Spiration estimates that about 4 million people in the U.S. suffer from emphysema. Outside the U.S., that number is five to 10 times greater, Shea said.

Ángel González: 206-515-5644 or agonzalez@seattletimes.com