Vensana Capital unveils AI-powered intravascular ultrasound maker Evident Vascular

Prolific medtech investor Vensana Capital’s next move is now evident. Literally: Evident Vascular, a startup incubated by the investor, has now exited stealth with plans to introduce an intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) platform enhanced by artificial intelligence technology.

Evident made its debut this week, backed by $35 million in series A funding from Vensana, according to a Tuesday announcement.

The company is led by CEO and co-founder Howard Rosen, who boasts a three-decade career among cardiovascular devicemakers that started with a 21-year stint Boston Scientific followed by stops at Flagship Pioneering’s BG Medicine and Haemonetics as well as both Intact Vascular and its spinout Vesper Medical through their recent acquisitions by Philips.

Rounding out Evident’s executive team are Rosen’s fellow founders: Chief Product Officer Danielo Piazza and Chief Technology Officer Patrick Phillips, Ph.D., who in their own wide-ranging careers helped develop technologies now owned by several big-name medtechs including Johnson & Johnson, Siemens Healthineers and Philips.

Evident’s platform will build on existing IVUS technology, in which a tiny ultrasound wand is attached to the tip of a catheter then threaded through a patient’s blood vessels. Once in the desired destination, it emits sound waves to develop images of the insides of specific veins and arteries.

The company’s system will add AI to the mix, however, to improve image quality and the entire process of conducting a scan and analyzing results—which Evident says will allow its technology to work just as well in imaging the periphery blood vessels as traditional IVUS systems do in the coronary arteries to the heart.

The AI-backed technology is aimed at filling an already large—and still-growing—need for high-quality imaging tools that can be used in peripheral vascular procedures. According to data cited by Evident, more than 2 million such procedures were performed in 2020, and that annual count is expected to surpass the 3 million mark by 2030, with peripheral arterial and venous diseases now reportedly making up the biggest and fastest-growing segment of IVUS use in the U.S.

“Legacy IVUS platforms were originally designed primarily for coronary procedures and secondarily for peripheral vascular applications. Shortcomings in image quality, interpretation, and workflow have limited the widespread adoption of IVUS despite its clinical benefit, and there has been minimal innovation to address these limitations,” Rosen said in the announcement.

He added that Evident’s team “is pioneering the future of intravascular imaging with a platform optimized for peripheral vascular procedures that will enable improved image interpretation guidance, and ease of use enhancements throughout the clinical workflow.”