Procyrion raises $10M to get minimally invasive mini heart pump in the clinic

Procyrion device--Courtesy of Procyrion

Procyrion is developing what it says is the first catheter-deployed micropump for the heart. It's now nabbed a $10 million Series B round to back clinical development of its tiny, chronic heart failure device that consists of a continuous flow pump that is mounted via the femoral artery inside the heart to the descending thoracic aorta. Once deployed, its self-expanding anchors fix the pump to the aortic wall.

The catheter is removed, but a flexible electrical power wire must be tunneled to a "tunneled to a desired transdermal exit site or to a Transcutaneous Energy Transfer (TET) system for subcutaneous implantation without an indwelling power lead," according to the startup's site.

The device, dubbed Aortix, is intended to be used instead of a standard left ventricle assist device (LVAD), which requires major surgery. About 2 million patients in the U.S. have uncontrolled chronic heart failure that makes them eligible for an LVAD device or even a heart transplant, the company estimates. Procyrion expects its device could enable younger and relatively healthier chronic heart failure patients to receive treatment.

LVAD has attracted a lot of attention of late as the two market leaders, Thoratec and HeartWare, are in the midst of strategic deals. St. Jude Medical ($STJ) just closed its $3.4 billion acquisition of Thoratec on Oct. 8, while HeartWare ($HTWR) is in the midst of a somewhat controversial purchase of mitral valve repair and replacement startup Valtech Cardio for more than $900 million in stock. Earlier this week, an activist investor formally came out to oppose HeartWare's Valtech acquisition plans.

This financing is expected to get the company into first-in-human trials next year with a clinical pilot study to follow in 2017. Procyrion investors include Fannin Partners, Scientific Health Development and an undisclosed strategic investor, who led the latest financing with participation from existing and new investors. This brings the startups total financing to $13 million.

Procyrion CEO Benjamin Hertzog

"The additional commitment and interest from these new investors validates our technology and the need for less invasive options to treat chronic heart failure in ambulatory patients," said Procyrion CEO Benjamin Hertzog in a statement.

The Aortix device was conceptualized by Dr. Reynolds Delgado III, medical director of Mechanical Assist Devices in Heart Failure at the Texas Heart Institute. He founded Procyrion in 2005 and serves as its CMO. Carter Meyer, CEO of Scientific Health, will join Procyrion board in conjunction with the financing.

"Like many early-stage medical device technologies, Procyrion's Aortix required strong management and risk capital to get to this stage, and we are proud of our role in advancing Dr. Delgado's idea," summed up Fannin founder and chairman Leo Linbeck III, who also sits on Procyrion's board. "Recent preclinical studies have been very encouraging, and we are quite confident that this technology has the potential to dramatically impact the treatment options for a large number of chronic heart failure patients."

- here is the announcement