JenaValve lands $62.5M round for heart valve

JenaValve has raised $62.5 million to market its aortic implant.--Courtesy of JenaValve

As Edwards Lifesciences ($EW) and Medtronic ($MDT) spar for aortic valve dominance in Europe, lesser-known JenaValve is filling its coffers to join the fray, hauling in a massive $62.5 million Series C to market its implant.

With the cash, JenaValve plans to expand the use of its eponymous device, a low-profile transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) system that fuses pig tissue with a nitinol self-expanding stent. The device is inserted transapically--through a small incision on a patient's chest--and then guided via catheter into the heart to reverse the effects of aortic valve disease.

The company, based in the U.S. and Germany, already has a CE mark for the chest-implanted valve and, with its new cash, it plans to kick off clinical trials of a transfemoral version, CEO Helmut Straubiger said. From there, JenaValve plans to launch studies targeting U.S. and China approvals, looking grow its global presence as the market for valve replacement climbs north of $1 billion a year.

In the short term, snagging a major share of the European heart valve market will be no easy task, as Edwards and Medtronic are already well-entrenched with multiple generations of implants, and Boston Scientific ($BSX) is waiting in the wings, expecting a CE mark for its Lotus valve by year's end.

However, Straubiger said he believes JenaValve's strong safety and efficacy data will help the company carve out a lucrative home in the booming TAVI space, and the latest fundraise will allow it to make its case to more and more cardiologists.

"JenaValve is gaining momentum in the European TAVI market with our novel transapical TAVI system, primarily based on our products' unique features and clinical benefits," Straubiger said in a statement. "Based on the positive feedback from our expanding network of hospital customers, we believe our technology represents an important advancement in the treatment of aortic valve disease."

Belgian private equity outfit Gimv led the latest funding round, joined by Beijing-based Legend Capital, Edmond de Rothschild, Atlas Venture Funds and others. In 2010, JenaValve raised about $25 million in Series B cash, following a $17.8 million Series A in 2007.

- read the announcement

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