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CircuLite: Partial Support Enables Patient Management

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

There is a large group of chronic heart failure patients--more than two million of them worldwide-who are resistant to or have failed drugs or devices, but aren't yet eligible for the cardiac assist devices approved for end-stage patients. Back in 2006, when START-UP first spoke with CircuLite, the company was after those patients, with a small pump that, in providing partial circulatory support, would be in an entirely different category than LVADs. Today, on only a bit more than $36 million in funding, CircuLite has developed the Synergy Pocket Micro-pump, a tiny pump designed to provide partial assist to the heart. Synergy has completed its first-in-man study, and is nearing completion of its European clinical trial supporting a CE mark.

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Where Are They Now? Start-Up Revisits Cardiac Assist Companies

The market for cardiac assist devices has, in the past, been focused on end-stage patients waiting for a heart transplant, a niche market. But now, growth is accelerating in all sectors, from acute cardiac support to the long-term support of end-stage heart failure patients. Start-Up revisits CardiacAssist, CircuLite, and MicroMed.

Interventional Heart Failure

Medical device investors who have avoided heart failure, because of the long and uncertain development course of ventricular assist devices, should take another look. The minimally invasive revolution in heart failure, to some extent a logical extension of interventional cardiology's migration into other areas of structural heart disease like heart valves and PFOs, is providing new device opportunities, which have the potential to get to market sooner and at the same address an even larger patient population than heart failure devices that came before.

CircuLite Inc.

More than 80% of the ventricular assist devices in development today use an open surgical approach. CircuLite Inc. is developing a completely interventional VAD. With its percutaneous device, the company aims to extend treatment to patients at an earlier stage of heart failure, thus halting--or perhaps reversing--disease progression.

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