Abell Foundation earns $5.2 million on Harpoon Medical acquisition

Baltimore medical device company Harpoon Medical’s acquisition earlier this month was a windfall for The Abell Foundation, one of its early investors.

The nonprofit said it earned $5.2 million on the deal, a 10-times return on the $500,000 Abell invested in 2014 and 2015.


Harpoon Medical, which makes a device to improve a type of minimally invasive heart procedure, was acquired by California-based Edwards Dec. 1 for $100 million.

“Harpoon represents more proof that investing in local companies pays multiple dividends,” said Abell Foundation President Robert C. Embry Jr., in a statement. “Investing a portion of our assets directly into Baltimore-based companies will not only grow companies and jobs in Baltimore, but will contribute to our foundation’s ability to invest in Baltimore and its people.”


Embry said the foundation plans to use the payout to increase its grant budget and support of Baltimore businesses.

Abell is known for its grant-making, but also invests directly in promising companies like Harpoon that foundation leaders believe can play a role in promoting economic growth in Baltimore’s small business community.

In 2016, the foundation counted among its assets $20.4 million in direct investments.

Founded in 2013 with technology licensed from the University of Maryland, Harpoon and its 18 employees are staying in Baltimore.

As part of Edwards, the Harpoon team will continue research and development and clinical trials for their device, which is designed to shorten the procedure and recovery periods for mitral valve repair.

Edwards will lead marketing and sales of the device, which is awaiting regulatory approval in Europe.