Stent system developer Svelte pulls in $22M to fuel pivotal study

Svelte Medical Systems pulled in $22 million in new financing to help finish a pivotal clinical study and prepare for the European commercialization of two balloon-expandable coronary stent systems in early 2015.

CNF Investments and New Science Ventures participated in the new round along with existing investors, Svelte said in a statement. To date, the New Providence, NJ, startup said it has reeled in $65 million in funding overall.

Svelte plans to use the money, in part, to finish its DIRECT II study, a randomized, controlled trial, the results of which will be released next year. Additionally, it will be revving up plans to commercialize two drug-eluting stent technologies in Europe: its Integrated Delivery System and Rapid-Exchange platforms.

Coronary stents are ubiquitous these days, and controversy has increased over whether they're overused. So why would a drug-eluting coronary stent developer attract funding? New Science Ventures managing partner Somu Subramaniam said in a statement that the company is developing "highly differentiated technologies" that can "significantly impact the very large and well-established coronary stent market." In other words, Svelte and its investors are counting on injecting something new into the saturated stent market that could propel new interest and competition with larger, dominant players ranging from Medtronic ($MDT) to Boston Scientific ($BSX) and Abbott ($ABT).

Company President and CEO Jack Darby said in a statement that Svelte's systems are unique in that they specifically help facilitate the transradial approach and direct stenting. He also said the delivery systems are relatively low profile, and that their "specialized balloon and drug carrier technologies" help reduce both arterial injury and inflammation during stent delivery. Svelt, which debuted in 2007, also uses a drug coating that is blended, in part, with naturally occurring amino acids intended to reduce inflammation more than existing technology.

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