Boston Scientific backs atrial fibrillation startup Iowa Approach

Atrial fibrillation ablation technology--Courtesy of Iowa Approach

Boston Scientific ($BSX) has invested in Iowa Approach, a new startup devoted to its novel atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation technology. The technique is expected to be easier and cheaper than the current AF ablation procedures; there are about 400,000 ablations to treat AF annually. The company expects to be ready for testing in humans in 2016.

The undisclosed amount from Boston Scientific will go to advance product engineering and additional preclinical research for Iowa Approach's technology. The startup was founded in 2012 to commercialize novel catheter-based ablation tools to treat AF. It recently obtained an exclusive, global license to AF ablation technology that has pending patents from the University of Iowa Research Foundation.

"IOWA Approach's system may have the potential to overcome the shortcomings of current ablation techniques to become the gold standard," President and CEO of Iowa Approach Allan Zingeler said in a statement.

The startup sees two major advantages to its ablation approach: simplicity, since the method doesn't need 3-D mapping, sophisticated imaging, intracardiac echo or transseptal puncture, and speed, the procedure to make the lesion takes less than one minute.

Dr. Vivek Reddy

"In my practice, I'm regularly ablating AF patients; however, every procedure is necessarily an intricate procedure, requiring many medical devices, many lesions and accordingly, I am only able to perform a few cases a day," Vivek Reddy, director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said on the University of Iowa's blog. A more straightforward and efficient approach for electrophysiologists performing this procedure would be much better, he added.

There are an estimated 2.5 million people in the U.S. with atrial fibrillation, with an additional 200,000 patients diagnosed annually. AF costs more than $25 billion for the U.S. healthcare system annually, the company said.

- here is the release
- and the blog from the University of Iowa

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