Arterial Remodeling Technologies, a French company whose technology was developed in part by the Cleveland Clinic, has raised $8.5 million in venture capital funding to further develop its biodegradable stents.
Fred Cornhill, former chairman of the Clinic’s department of biomedical engineering, worked with researchers at two French institutions to develop the device. Cleveland Clinic maintains an equity stake in the company, according to Chris Coburn, executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations.
The funding brings the amount that Clinic spinoffs have raised over roughly the last seven years to $425 million, Coburn said.
On another positive note for the state’s biomedical industry, Arterial Remodeling Technologies could someday set up a U.S. base in Ohio. “We expect to have a serious discussion about their relationship with the Clinic and a possible presence in Ohio” when ART officials visit Cleveland next week, Coburn said.
Biodegradable, or as they’re sometimes called, “bioresorbable” stents, have recently become alluring to the medical device industry because of their promise to do their job and then dissolve. The devices could become “the next revolution,” Abbott Laboratories’ (NYSE:ABT) top device executive told Bloomberg News. Abbott and Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX) are among the heavy-hitters working to develop their own versions of the device.
A stent is a tiny tube that’s inflated inside narrow of blocked arteries to keep them open. Stents are typically made of metal, and they’re a big-money industry. Bloomberg valued the annual market at $4 billion.
The metal devices can trigger deadly clots, however, and may interfere with future tests and surgeries. Bioresorbable stents could solve those problems — in theory, at least — and perhaps become the first choice for doctors performing stenting procedures.
Another device maker, Johnson & Johnson, threw cold water on the idea of bioresorbable stents — at least for use in the heart. “The bioresorbable stent is a larger, bulkier stent,” a J&J executive told Bloomberg. “The likelihood of it being a significant advance for patients and clinicians in coronary use is not great.”
Abbott may be close to getting its bioresorbable stent cleared for sale in Europe, but ART, the Clinic spinoff, hasn’t made it that far. The company has seen positive results from a study in pig arteries but has yet to progress to human testing.
ART’s stents are made from polylactic acid, a type of resin made from corn that’s viewed by some as “the future of plastic in a post-petroleum world,” according to Smithsonian Magazine.
The company’s latest round of funding comes from existing investors Matignon Technologies and Amundi Private Equity Funds, along with new investor InnoBio Fund. ART has raised a total of $17 million, according to a statement.