Cleveland Heart draws $30M from Korean equity group

Startup Cleveland Heart reeled in $30 million in investment from Korean private equity group Power Heart Consortium, the Charlotte Business Journal reports.

Plans call for using the money to boost development of the company's SmartHeart, a total artificial heart designed to replace a person's heart as a transition to an actual heart transplant, according to the story. Separately, the company is also developing a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD. Cleveland Heart argues that its technology advances from what is already on the market because it miniaturizes the pump mechanism, allowing for less invasive surgery when implanted.

If it reaches regulatory approval, Cleveland Heart's products enter a space already occupied by companies such as Abiomed ($ABMD), whose AbioCor is billed as the world's first completely self-contained replacement heart. The product is designed to help heart failure patients who have no other treatment options, rather than serve as a bridge-to-transplant. Thoratec ($THOR) markets its HeartMate II LVAD, and HeartWare International obtained a CE mark for its own system in May, approving it as a bridge-to-transplant and destination therapy.

Cleveland Heart launched as a joint effort between Trans-World Medical Devices, which is based in Charlotte, and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the Cleveland Clinic's corporate venture arm.

- read the CBJ story (sub. req.)