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Therapeutic hypothermia has shown promise as a neuroprotective treatment for a variety of applications, including cardiac arrest and neonatal hypoxic brain injury. Now companies with temperature management technologies are conducting clinical trials and developing new cooling devices with an eye toward cooling the brain in patients who experience an acute ischemic stroke – an indication with an estimated worldwide market potential of $3 billion annually.
Therapeutic hypothermia companies have largely been disappointing for investors who poured in -- and lost -- fortunes investing in promising cooling technologies. But while many first-generation start-ups no longer exist, the technologies they developed live on within the large corporations that paid pennies on the dollars to acquire them. Although the pioneers in the field failed to meet their objectives, there is reason for hope. Their corporate acquirers have continued to move the technology down the field. The end zone may not be in sight, yet, but advancement is slow and steady. Meanwhile, medical societies including the American Heart Association have issued guidelines on how hospitals should employ therapeutic hypothermia in treating patients. Similarly, some decision makers - including the City of New York - are requiring patients be taken to facilities that offer cooling treatments, giving the field the legitimacy it lacked for so long. Finally, innovation is beginning to take root again as new start-ups develop a next generation of therapeutic hypothermia devices. Taken together, these developments suggest that patient temperature management may arrive someday soon.
As part of a bid to connect the dots between its own product offerings, Philips Healthcare acquired InnerCool Therapies, maker of surface and endovascular cooling devices for the management of cardiac patients. InnerCool fits into the company's broader "care cycle" strategy, the point of which is to provide a continuum of care to patients in the diseases Philips serves. Specifically, Philips' strategy is to connect diverse care settings to its product markets, in this case, cardiac resuscitation. The combination marks a change in how sudden cardiac arrest is regarded, from an isolated episode focused on a stopped heart to a larger strategy of patient management.
Each month, Start-Up presents a comprehensive review of young, private life science companies that have recieved venture funding during the month, including companies in the pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic and research instrumentation & reagent sectors.
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