By Thomas Lee
BURNSVILLE, Minnesota– Imricor Medical Systems Inc. raised $3.1 million, according to a filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
Working with General Electric (NYSE:GE), a major maker of MRI machines, Imricor is developing an MRI-guided catheter system to treat cardiac arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation.
The company’s Bridge software connects its Vision ablation catheter with an MRI machine, creating 3D images that allow doctors to more quickly target the diseased tissue causing abnormal heart beats. Normally, doctors rely on less-accurate X-ray images, which also expose the body to radiation.
Atrial fibrillation, the most common form of heart rhythm disorder, affects more than 2 million people in the U.S., according to the Heart Rhythm Society. The disease represents a strong growth market for medical device companies large and small.
St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE:STJ) of Little Canada, Minn., said AF products sales in 2009 jumped 15 percent over the prior year, to $628 million. The company recently received approval from the Food & Drug Administration to begin enrolling patients in a clinical trial of its Duo 12 catheter system that uses radio frequency energy to destroy abnormal heart tissue.
In 2008, Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT) acquired CryoCath Technologies Inc. for about $380 million. The Canadian company makes catheters (tubes) that can deliver subzero temperatures to the heart. The technology restores normal electric signals by freezing the tissue or pathways behind the irregular quivering. Medtronic plans to launch its AF catheters in first half of fiscal year 2011.