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« Prosthetic Laboratories of Rochester sold to Texas company | Main | Knutson lands $17.3M contract to upgrade Rochester MnDOT complex »

June 25, 2014

Mayo Clinic-linked NeoChord gets new leader

An Eden Prairie company that makes a medical device based on Mayo Clinic research named a new leader this week for the first time since it launched in 2007.

NeoheartNeoChord announced that David H. Chung was appointed as president and CEO, "effective immediately." He replaced John Seaberg, who resigned.

“David Chung’s extensive experience in building and managing international sales forces will be invaluable, as we introduce NeoChord’s innovative technology to patients throughout Europe,” said Dr. Michael Fulton, Neochord's chairman of the board.

For the past seven years, the company has been developing a device designed by Mayo Clinic cardiac surgeons Dr. Richard Daly and Dr. Giovanni Speziali. Beside licensing its technology, Mayo Clinic also is invested in an equity position in the firm. Speziali was named as the company's chief medical officer in 2013.

The NeoChord DS1000 device is used to treat a heart condition called mitral regurgitation. Mitral regurgitation means the valve or leaflet that controls the flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle is not working properly.

Portfolio-neochord-260x138Treatment typically consists of “cracking the chest,” stopping the heart and doing surgery. NeoChord's approach is much less invasive and can be done on a beating heart. 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 former CEO Seaburg described the process as “a very elegant treatment."

A Transapical Artificial Chordae Tendinae (TACT) trial is underway to evaluate the NeoChord DS1000. The system now is being used to treat patients in 18 hospitals across eight countries in Europe. More than 120 patients have been treated. It is not yet cleared for commercial use in the U.S.

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.

Since it formed in 2007, NeoChord's lifeblood has been venture capital funding. By 2008, it had raised $3 million. It raised another $5.1 million in 2011 to finance the European clinical trial. In March 2013, it raised $3 million through the sale of its series B-2 preferred stock.

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