Biomedical start-up readies new artificial heart

The start-up biomedical company Carmat is assembling a completely artificial heart which it says will be ready for use by 2011. Backed by the noted French scientist Alain Carpentier, the VC group Truffle and the French innovation agency, Carmat will develop the new heart in a facility close to Paris.

The prosthetic heart combines biomaterial that relies on chemically-treated animal tissue in combination with the same kind of technology that has been used to develop replacement heart valves to advance a prototype heart that will pump blood much like the organ itself. And it will be used initially for patients with the most severe forms of heart damage. There's an annual worldwide shortage of about 20,000 heart donors.

"We are moving from pure research to clinical applications. After 15 years of work, we are handing over to industry to produce an artificial heart usable by man," Carpentier told AFP.

- read the story from the AFP