AF Ablation: Progress & Promise
Tremendous progress has been made in the field of ablation therapy for atrial fibrillation (AF) over the past several years, and numerous device-based technologies to address this underserved and rapidly growing patient population are under clinical development. Minimally invasive, percutaneous AF ablation has evolved rapidly as well, although the procedure remains very challenging and limited to highly experienced centers.
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Endosense is beginning to establish itself in the tough market of atrial fibrillation with a catheter that stresses an attribute that no one has featured yet: force sensing in delivering energy. Proving the clinical value of force-sensing will be difficult enough, but Endosense faced an even greater challenge in 2009 when its long-time backer, 3i, decided it wanted to exit device venture investing and divest its stake in the company.
The medical device industry is undergoing a crisis of funding, but not of confidence, according to a panel of investors convened at Windhover's recent medtech conference, In3 West,. The conference panel sought to explore how the medical device investment community is operating in these troubled times, how they will invest going forward, and how they will support their companies if things don't improve. We were especially curious to know if the funding challenges that start-ups face are really due to the overall dire economy, or if that dark cloud merely masks changing fundamentals in the medical device industry that are making it more difficult for companies to find funding, gain FDA approval, and enjoy a healthy exit. Our panel weighs in on the matter.
Competitors in the cardiac rhythm management space are drawing new battlelines in the area of atrial ablation. Medtronic's acquisition of CryoCath pits it against historical rivals St. Jude and Boston Scientific.