CorInnova raises $6m for EpicHeart soft robotic heart failure treatment

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CorInnovaCorInnova said today that it raised $6.1 million from Wellcome Trust for the EpicHeart device it’s developing to treat heart failure.

Houston-based CorInnova said EpicHeart is a direct cardiac compression device that uses a collapsible, thin-film, pneumatically actuated soft robotic device to surround both ventricles of the heart. It’s designed to use air to inflate and increase cardiac output by gently squeezing the heart.

Founded to commercialize technology developed at Texas A&M University’s Cardiac Mechanics Laboratory by Dr. John Criscione, CorInnova is backed by a group of private investors, the National Heart Lung Blood Institute and National Science Foundation, the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and now the Wellcome Fund, a charitable foundation. CorInnova is also a resident at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS @ TMC, a life science incubator in Houston.

“Our EpicHeart technology is innovative and groundbreaking. We believe it will lead to a new paradigm for heart failure treatment,” CEO William Altman said in prepared remarks. “We are honored to have our work recognized by the Wellcome Trust. We are further honored to have been chosen by JLABS as one of a limited number of companies to be invited to join its life sciences incubator. Due to its minimally invasive nature and its potential for reduced adverse events from blood contact, CorInnova’s non-blood-contacting soft robotic cardiac assist device could potentially triple or quadruple the number of heart failure patients who could be eligible for such a life-saving device therapy.”

“Wellcome is pleased to support the development of this innovative technology for the treatment of congestive heart failure,” added Dr. Philip Jordan of Wellcome’s Innovations team. “Congestive heart failure is a chronic condition that affects roughly six million people in the US alone and is a leading cause of death and disability. A significantly less-invasive medical device that could restore a certain level of heart function would be potentially transformative for patients.”

Last month CorInnova won a $50,000 award at the annual Pediatric Device Innovation Symposium.

“We are pleased that the compelling advantages of CorInnova’s technology for heart failure treatment in adults is equally compelling for treatment for children,” product development VP Boris Leschinsky said.

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