Vessix Vascular – 2012 Fierce 15

Raymond Cohen, CEO of Vessix Vascular

Based: Laguna Hills, CA
Founded: 2003
Website: VessixVascular.com

The Scoop: Venture-backed Vessix Vascular is the non-giant in the race to cash in on renal denervation devices, and the company's CEO says his product is poised to seize what could be a $2.8 billion market.

What Makes It Fierce: Take a look at the renal denervation field and you'll find a who's who of medical device giants touting technologies in various stages of development, with St. Jude Medical ($STJ) and Medtronic ($MDT) sparring in public over data, and Covidien ($COV) and Boston Scientific ($BSX) working to break into what analysts say could be a $2.8 billion market by 2020.

And then there's Vessix Vascular, a venture-backed company that says its Vessix V2 renal denervation device works faster and more effectively than its competitors at lowering blood pressure in patients with drug-resistant hypertension.

Vessix got a CE mark for its device in May, and the company is currently conducting a post-market surveillance study of 120 patients in Europe and Australia, amassing clinical data it'll use to pitch V2 to more physicians and vascular centers in the EU. The early results are encouraging, CEO Ray Cohen says, with patients reporting a 20% reduction in blood pressure, and the company expects to wrap up the study by year-end.

But that's just step one. Cohen says Vessix plans to hold a full-scale European launch of the tech early next year, and he expects V2 will be the market leader in 24 months thanks to its speedy, efficient method of renal denervation. Medtronic's Symplicity, the current renal denervation market leader, carries a total procedure time of 40 minutes, Cohen says, while V2's balloon catheter can denervate 8 points on the renal artery in just one to two minutes.

"We've got the best product, and I think the market uptake's going to be very good," Cohen says. "I don't see why anybody would want to use a system that takes 7 times as long. If you're as safe and efficacious, why buy a harder-to-use product?"

Vessix is working off a $23 million Series B from last year, led by Edmond de Rothschild and OrbiMed. While the company doesn't have concrete plans to start up another round just yet, Cohen says Vessix is blessed to have a marketable product in an in-demand space and isn't worried about getting access to funds in the future. "We're in a situation where we only want to take as much money as we need, which happens, like, once in your career," he says.

What To Look For: Vessix is aiming for an overseas commercial launch of V2 in the first quarter of 2013, and Cohen says the company is likely to seek FDA approval in 2015 at the earliest.

-- Damian Garde (email | Twitter)

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Vessix Vascular – 2012 Fierce 15