Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Disappearing Act

As we noted yesterday, the scientific opinion pendulum may be swinging back in the direction of drug-eluting stents, but venture capitalists continue to look for a better way.

Witness the €5.5 million ($7.8 million) second round raised by Arterial Remodeling Technologies. Founded in 2002, the French company intends to use the capital to pursue CE Mark clearance for its experimental biosresorbable stents. No doubt, this field is crowded. Heck, we’ve profiled a number of companies in this area here, here and here, and all will be seeking funding at one point or another.

Oh and the profile for ART can be found here.

But ART’s approach seems fairly unique. Rather than developing a stent that is dissolved into the body after performing two functions: propping open the vessel and delivering anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent restenosis, ART’s stents—like their bare metal ancestors—won’t carry any drugs. The novel polymer from which the stents are built is both hemocompatible and biocompatible so they've caused minimal inflammation in preclinical studies involving rabbits and pigs.

“Every time you can go with a biological healing process you are in a much better position,” founder & CEO (and investor) Patrick Sabaria told us earlier this year. Sabaria, by the way, is also the former Vice President, Europe, for J&J Interventional Systems, where he introduced the world’s first approved-for-marketing coronary stent.

By our reckoning, Theracardia Inc., another start-up in this area, may be the only other start-up taking a similar approach. Find that profile here.

In this day of heightened concerns over the use of drugs and devices, ART, Theracardia and other efforts to develop stents that neither elute a drug nor leave behind a stent will be worth watching.

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