Xeltis gets $34M to develop biodegradable heart valves and vessels

The synthetic matrices biodegrade over time, during which new heart valves and blood vessels grow to replace the scaffolding--Illustration courtesy of Xeltis

Swiss med tech Xeltis has raised €27 million ($34 million) in an oversubscribed Series B round. The financing will be used mostly to help get its first product to market, a biodegradable pulmonary valve intended for patients with severe congenital malformations of the heart, an orphan pediatric indication.

While its first effort is quite specific, the startup ultimately has much bigger aims. It hopes to bring about a paradigm shift in cardiac and vascular surgery with its synthetic, biodegradable heart valves and blood vessels. It has dubbed the therapeutic category it aims to flesh out Endogenous Tissue Growth.

Xeltis' technology is based on chemistry from its advisory board member Jean-Marie Lehn, who won the 1987 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in supramolecular chemistry.

The synthetic matrices are designed to stimulate and guide the body's natural healing response. The idea is that they biodegrade over time as new valves and vessels grow and, eventually, the scaffolds are entirely gone, leaving no foreign material behind but having essentially aided the body in creating and repairing its own tissue.

Amsterdam-based Life Sciences Partners (LSP) and Paris-based Kurma Partners led the financing with participation from VI Partners, Zug and existing investors.

"Xeltis has the potential to bring a complete paradigm shift in cardiac and vascular surgery," Clemens van Blitterswijk, a partner at LSP, said in a statement. "The uniqueness and the breakthrough nature of their technology make Xeltis a very attractive investment opportunity."

In February, Xeltis completed enrollment in a 5-patient feasibility study in a Moscow cardiovascular surgery center, its first testing in humans.

- here is the release

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