Campbell Rogers is leaving his post as chief scientific officer for Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) Cordis Corp. – a role created for him in July 2006 – to take the chief medical officer job at startup HeartFlow.
Redwood City, Calif.-based HeartFlow is developing a non-invasive method of detecting fractional flow reserve using CT scans, Rogers told MassDevice.com yesterday. The technology won the EuroPCR Innovation Award last year, based on findings from a clinical trial showing that it can help identify coronary lesions that are causing ischemia.
"It’s an opportunity to be in a smaller company and in a more operational role. It’s a really interesting medical area." Rogers told us. "The technology really is really kind of cool. It allows assessment of the treatments for coronary disease for which patients may be best suited."
HeartFlow, which has backers including venture capital shops U.S. Venture Partners and Capricorn Investment Group and Emergent Medical Partners, reported a $75.0 million funding round this month, according to a regulatory filing. The company was spun out of research by Dr. Christopher Zarins and Charley Taylor at Stanford University. It uses FFRCT analysis – essentially, a complex algorithm – of CT-based angiograms to compute coronary FFR.
Fractional flow reserve is usually measured using a catheter and wire inserted through the thigh and into the heart’s blood vessels. The HeartFlow algorithm can use CTs generated non-invasively to calculate FFR.The aim is to help physicians to decide how best to treat the narrowed arteries – whether via medical therapy, stent or open-heart bypass surgery – based on the non-invasive imaging alone.
“What they’ve been able to do, it’s actually really cool, is to take CT angiography images of the coronaries, in other words non-invasive images, then derive from that FFR associated with specific coronary stenoses,” he told us. “I’m looking forward to a hands-on role and on a smaller scale, being part of a smaller, focused team in a different side of the medical technology business. If you look at life as a learning process, there’s going to be tremendous learning there for me, just as there was at J&J, and the potential to advance patient outcomes significantly.”
Rogers sees med-tech such as HeartFlow’s as a part of the move toward more integrated care in cardiology, as is the case now for treating cancer or with transcatheter aortic valve implants.
"One of the areas I find interesting is what practitioners in cardiology or cardiovascular medicine will look like [in 10 years or so]. We’re already seeing a blend between cardiac surgery and interventional cardiology – teams of people that really triage and treat across the spectrum, looking at patients and assessing their medical or revascularization options,” he explained. “That, I think, is a big movement in the future – and it’s not re-inventing the wheel. It’s what is done for some cancer patients all the time – if you have, for example, prostate cancer, you go and see a multidisciplinary team and together they decide on the best treatment for you. There’s no reason that shouldn’t be the case in cardiology."