Volcano Steps Up in Vulnerable Plaque By Buying Jomed's IVUS Business
For Volcano Therapeutics, the addition of Jomed's IVUS business is both an addition to and diversification beyond its current play in thermography as a diagnostic tool to detect vulnerable plaque.
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Whatever happened to vulnerable plaque? More than a decade ago, vulnerable plaque was a hot topic that was hoped would explain many incidents of sudden cardiac death in patients without other symptoms of coronary artery disease. While many experts believe the theory underlying this concept remains sound, proving its validity and then developing both diagnostic tools to identify what have been called "vulnerable patients" and then therapeutic devices to treat them has turned out to be a difficult and lengthy challenge that remains unsolved. InfraReDx Inc. remains active in this area, and according to CEO and founder James Muller, MD, is closing in on a solution. InfraReDx recently raised $21 million in its Series D financing round.
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.
Vulnerable plaque caught investors' and entrepreneurs' attention several years ago as the mysterious cause of more than half of all cases of sudden cardiac death, most of which occurs in people with no history of heart disease. Several companies were launched and much money invested with little to show for it. One major problem: vulnerable plaque requires new tools both to diagnose and treat the condition, which proved to be bigger hurdles than most start-ups can overcome. Prescient was launched by an experienced device management team and is applying Raman spectroscopy, to coronary disease as the basis of its diagnostic tool, and is using a shield-not a stent-for its therapeutic device.