Accelmed invests $8m in US catheter co ValCare

ValCare will set up a development center in Israel.

Moshe (Mori) Arkin and Dr. Uri Geiger's Accelmed is investing $8 million in US transcatheter technology developer, ValCare Medical Inc., a spinoff of MiCardia Corporation. ValCare is developing a heart valve repair device which is implanted in a minimally invasive way by catheter.

MiCardia CTO Sam Shaolian, who has been appointed CEO of ValCare, is a former Israeli, and the primary inventor of ValCare's technology. He is a serial entrepreneur, whose ventures include Vertelink, which was sold to Medtronic Inc. (NYSE: MDT) for $80 million.

ValCare is developing a transcatheter mitral valve repair system, which utilizes interventional cardiology methods to implant a mitral annuloplasty device. Israel's Ventor Technologies, which Medtronic acquired for $325 million in 2009 and closed in 2012, developed minimally-invasive replacement aortic valves, called the Engager, eliminating the need for open-heart surgery.

The development technologies like Ventor's product for the aortic valve made it clear that minimally invasive methods for repairing the mitral valve was the next big thing, and that the market could be even larger than the market for aortic valve repair. AccelMed has joined this race with its investment in ValCare.

"We use a different way to locate technology than venture capital funds," Geiger told "Globes". "We found this field interesting and we examined 40 companies in it with a team of doctors who devoted months to this. After locating the technology, we had to persuade them to sell it. In short, we didn’t wait for the deal flow."

ValCare's team already includes several former employees of Ventor, who will shortly relocate to the US to learn about ValCare's activity and return to Israel to set up a development center here. Shaolian will reportedly manage the Israeli development center and reside at least part-time in Israel.

Geiger added that AccelMed had recently made a number of investments, which it prefers not to disclose at the moment, because of negotiations with potential partners. These investments total tens of millions of dollars.

MiCardia said that mitral annuloplasty devices are used in the treatment of moderate to severe mitral valve regurgitation, in which the valve does not close properly allowing blood to flow backwards into the heart's upper chamber. Nearly 4 million people in the US have this problem and it estimates the US market for treatments totals $3.5 billion a year.

Shaolian said, “To date, laboratory and pre-clinical tests have demonstrated feasibility of the designs and initial patent applications. The next phase is to complete the development and validate the device in pre-clinical studies in the near term.”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on July 11, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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