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November 16, 2007

Mayo Clinic + NeoChord follow-up

Here's some from a piece I have in the weekend edition about NeoChord, a medical device company based on Mayo Clinic research with some Mayo investment. It is aimed at an estimated $2 billion annual market in the U.S. Check out the video also:

A biotechnology start-up company is using a Mayo Clinic-designed device to get to the heart of “an elegant solution” for a common cardiac condition.
Download revised_valve_repair.mpg

NeoChord, created earlier this year, has a license agreement with Mayo to commercialize a device based on research by cardiac surgeons Dr. Richard Daly and Dr. Giovanni Speziali. About $1.3 million in seed money has already been raised.

Beside using Mayo technology, the clinic is also invested in an equity position in the firm.

About 250,000 patients are diagnosed with mitral regurgitation in the U.S each year. Mitral regurgitation means the valve or leaflet that controls the flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle is not working right. Some of the blood moving through the valve leaks back into the atrium.

Treatment typically consists of “cracking the chest,” stopping the heart and doing surgery. NeoChord is proposing a much less invasive approach.

“This is a very elegant treatment that can be performed on a beating heart,” explains NeoChord CEO John Seaburg.

A tool is inserted between the ribs and into the heart. Then it is used to attach a chord to the faulty valve leaflet, which is tethered to the heart.

The tentative plan is to begin implants in Europe in the second half of 2008 and start a “full-blown” clinical trial shortly after that.

What is the earliest the product could reach the market?

Seaburg estimates that it would be between 2010 to 2011.

The market for less invasive techniques for mitral valve repair has been estimated at more than $2 billion. There are 50,000 surgeries done in the U.S. each year. An estimated 2 million patients are treated due to the risks of surgery.

While many other companies are working on non-invasive treatments for mitral valve repair, Seaburg says NeoChord is taking a different approach.
“For an early stage technology being able to differentiate yourself in a hotspace is where you want to be,” he said.


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