California startup Middle Peak Medical locked down an $8.5 million Series A to support the development of its device to treat mitral regurgitation, targeting a market haunted by Abbott Laboratories ($ABT).
Wellington Partners and Seventure Partners led the round, joined by seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds Management, the company said. With the cash, Middle Peak can double down on R&D for its device, and the company is planning to expand its clinical and regulatory operations in Europe, gearing up for an eventual CE mark application.
Middle Peak's device is designed to treat mitral regurgitation, which occurs when the heart's mitral valve fails close upon left ventrical contraction, allowing blood to flow the wrong way and putting patients at risk of heart failure and death.
"Our internal financing allowed us to show strong proof-of-concept of the Middle Peak mitral implant," CEO Michael Lesh said. "We now have the resources to accelerate pre-clinical and clinical development. Middle Peak intends to bring significant benefit to patients with mitral regurgitation, the most common valvular heart disease."
Abbott is in the midst of an FDA application for MitraClip, an implant that prevents regurgitation by mechanically helping the valve close properly. However, despite the device's success in Europe, Abbott has run into some safety concerns with the MitraClip and will likely pursue an FDA indication only for patients who can't tolerate traditional mitral valve surgery.
Regardless of Abbott's early start, Middle Peak has developed "a truly novel, elegant device," Wellington Partners' Regina Hodits said, as the implant can work in both minimally invasive cardiac surgery and catheter-based percutaneous intervention.
"We have evaluated a number of technologies in the mitral space and have not seen anything comparable," Hodits said in a statement.
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