SMT raises $10.5M for embolic protection device

Israeli start-up SMT Research and Development has received $10.5 million in a financing round led by OrbiMed Advisors. The start-up, which focuses on the development and commercialization of tools and accessories for use during transcatheter aortic valve implantation procedures, is making a novel embolic protection device designed to reduce the chance of stroke during TAVI and other structural heart procedures.

Post-procedure brain lesion formation has been reported in 68 percent to 91 percent of TAVI procedures on MRI. In addition, the incidence of symptomatic stroke following TAVI has been reported to be between 3 percent and 10 percent. But SMT has spent five years developing and refining a deflection device to reduce the chance of stroke and embolic events during these procedures, according to a company statement.

The device is generating great interest in the VC community. "To our knowledge, this is the only device in development designed to protect the entire neurovascular system by covering all three major arteries feeding the brain," according to David Bonita, OrbiMed principal and new SMT board member, in a statement. 

"TAVI is truly one of the most exciting areas of medicine today, allowing patients suffering from life-threatening aortic valve stenosis to receive new, functional heart valves via minimally invasive techniques, thereby replacing traumatic open heart surgery," says Dov Shimon, cardiac surgeon and founder of SMT. "Current TAVI devices are working well, but...we continue to see post-procedure complications associated with cerebral embolism resulting in stroke and other ischemic events." 

Shimon founded the company as Sagax, and it was later acquired by Canada's MIV Therapeutics for $2.2 million. However, Shimon bought the company back in 2007. Other Israeli start-ups operate in the same field include Neurosonix and Gardia Medical, whose Tel Aviv Stock Exchange IPO failed a couple of weeks ago, Globes reports.

In connection with the financing, the company has appointed Paul Zalesky as CEO and added to the board Darvish and Vince Burgess, who will serve as chairman. The SMT deflector is an investigational device and is not available for commercial use in the U.S., EU or other markets.

- see the SMT release
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