International Cardio Corp. is licensing a noninvasive technology from the University of Minnesota that uses high-intensity focused ultrasound energy to treat clogged arteries.
Company president Donald Knight has a brother who nearly died during an angioplasty procedure, according to the company.
“Angioplasty is an effective procedure, but it carries risks,” Knight said in prepared remarks. “My goal is to develop a noninvasive alternative to angioplasty.”
Knight plans to have International Cardio (ICC) submit to FDA testing later this year. The Chaska, Minn.-based startup needs to raise $12 million to complete reach this goal, according to a business plan (PDF). ICC so far has raised $1.7 million, mostly from its founders and private investors.
Ultrasound shockwaves are a common method for breaking up kidney stones, but clearing out tiny blockages in arteries requires more precise equipment.
Present systems fire ultrasound shots at two- to five-second intervals with little or no feedback control while the energy is being applied, said Emad Ebbini, a UMinn engineering professor who led the technology’s development. The system images tissue response to the ultrasound beam at intervals of less than 10 milliseconds apart. Doctors using the device can see what the shockwave’s effects in real time and adjust accordingly, according the university.