Startup NeuroTronik hauls in $13.1M for heart device

Within a year of its launch, North Carolina's NeuroTronik has closed a $13.1 million Series A to develop a device that treats heart failure with neuromodulation.

NeuroTronik spun out of Chapel Hill business accelerator Synecor just 11 months ago, and the company is at work on a nerve-stimulating device that can improve heart function without the invasive surgery required to implant a defibrillator, The News & Observer reports. The company said its device can potentially shorten hospital stays for patients admitted with acute heart failure.

CEO Fred McCoy, a veteran of former cardiac device giant Guidant, told the newspaper his company's device could serve a huge unmet need, with 1.2 million U.S. patients admitted to hospitals with acute heart failure each year. Those people are at high risk for rehospitalization, McCoy said, with about 25% ending up being readmitted within 30 days.

"One of the principal reasons is that they come back for the same heart failure symptoms that they originally came for," McCoy told The News & Observer. "We intend to help the physicians get the patient to an optimal condition at discharge."

Early studies of the neuromodulation device have been encouraging, the company said, and if all goes according to plan NeuroTronik expects a CE mark in the next four years and FDA approval in about 6. For now, the company has $13.1 million to fund development and prepare for large-scale trials.

While neuromodulation has long been employed for pain management and incontinence, using a nerve-stimulating implant to improve heart function is a recent expansion. Israel's Enopace Biomedical, a portfolio company of Rainbow Medical, is developing a similar implant, and the devicemaker drew a $5 million investment from Sorin in February, packaged with an option to buy.

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