Start-Up Previews (04/2009)
A preview of the emerging health care companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, "New Stem Cell Therapies," features profiles of Amorcyte, California Stem Cell, Cardio3 BioSciences, CellDesign and Fate Therapeutics. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: Alaxo, CorNova, PCI Biotech.
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Stent failure is a significant risk in endovascular procedures such as coronary angioplasty. The two primary causes of morbidity and mortality following stent placement are in-stent restenosis (scar tissue growing within the stent and clogging the artery) and in-stent thrombosis (clot formation within the stent, resulting in blockage of arterial blood flow). CorNova strives to treat or eliminate these two common stent complications by integrating innovative technologies into the procedures and devices that practitioners are already using. The company's flagship product, the FiberHalo stent delivery and angioplasty catheter, consists of tiny fiber optics that have been integrated into the catheter itself to measure the vessel from inside the balloon and detect final stent expansion., because stent under-expansion is the leading cause of stent failure.
Amorcyte is intent on developing patients' own enriched bone-marrow stem cells as a treatment for cardiovascular disease. The idea is to infuse the stem cells into the heart a week or so after a severe heart attack, where they will linger and help restore damaged tissue. Results of a Phase I clinical trial recently reported at the scientific session of the American College of Cardiology conference showed the treatment was safe, and yielded insight into the minimum dosage necessary to generate a beneficial effect.
Earlier this decade, a German citizen suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) came up with the idea of mechanically splinting the airways in the throat to ensure free flow of air into the lungs, rather than relying on traditional pressure-based splinting of the airways, as with continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP). That concept became the AlaxoStent from Alaxo GMBH, a self-expandable, shape-memory metal braid that the patient can insert into his nose and throat at night and remove in the morning.