Lombard Medical: At Long Last, Turning The Corner In EVAR
Lombard Medical’s early efforts to tap into the endovascular AAA market ran into problems as the company’s initial financing strategy left it with too few resources to overcome the challenges that most start-up device companies face. The company’s most recent financing, a VIPE led by UK-investor Abingworth, should see Lombard through FDA approval and launch of its novel EVAR device that is targeted at patients with high degrees of vascular tortuosity. Early clinical data show its device is performing well against competition.
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The US endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR) market is one of the most dynamic device segments in the interventional arena, with growth and innovation driven in large part by an accelerating effort to expand EVAR to a wider patient pool. This movement toward more challenging cases does have a downside in terms of potential complications and uncertain long-term durability as physicians push the envelope of existing technology. However, innovation in this field is continuing at a fairly steady pace, and several important new technologies that could improve the safety and durability of EVAR in more complex anatomy could be introduced in the near future. If these devices live up to their early promise, they are likely to ignite even stronger growth in a market already valued at over $1 billion annually worldwide.
Endovascular aortic aneurysm repair procedures account for the majority of abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs performed in the US, and total worldwide revenues from aortic endograft systems now exceed $1 billion per year. Many believe that continuing improvements in endograft technology will drive EVAR penetration to 90% or beyond within the next five to 10 years. However, before that milestone is reached, the field must address a number of lingering concerns about long-term endograft stability and viability, and endograft systems will need to evolve to encompass a wider range of patients with challenging anatomy, including small or tortuous access vessels, short or highly angulated aortic necks, and aneurysms that lie close to the renal arteries.
Following the sale of Boston Scientific's venture portfolio, secondary buyers are positioning themselves as possible purchases of venture capital portfolios.