Updated on 6 September 2012
Endoluminal Sciences (ELS) has developed a novel technology, Solution of Endovascular Aortic Leaks (SEAL), which can eliminate PVL, paving the way for the development of next generation TAVI devices that can treat all patients with severe symptomatic AS. The SEAL technology is designed to be low profile, compatible with all TAVI device platforms and established delivery procedures to facilitate ease of adoption for the physicians.
The roots of this technology are at Stanford University's Biodesign program, where Mr Ashish Mitra, a mechanical engineer, and Mr Martin Ng, an associate professor and an interventional cardiologist, invented a sealing technology for endovascular devices, while undergoing their postgraduate training. What came as a curriculum project evolved as a breakthrough technology to address a major unmet medical need. Mr Mitra and Associate Prof Ng came up with a solution to the deadly leaks that occur in endovascular devices or bio-prostheses used for the treatment of varied vascular disease states, including failing heart valves and aortic aneurysms. They worked closely with the Stanford engineering and medical faculties while designing the fundamental elements of the technology, and once proof-of-concept testing was completed and a provisional patent was filed, a business plan was developed. Their project was awarded ‘Best in Class' in Stanford Biodesign in their graduating year, 2005.
In 2007, with the support of Australia's leading life sciences venture capital firm, GBS Venture Partners, ELS was founded in Sydney, Australia, and by mid 2008, the work to develop their intellectual property (IP), exclusively licensed from Stanford, into a platform technology was initiated.
By conducting comprehensive simulated testing in vitro, ELS has demonstrated that the SEAL makes the TAVI devices paravalvular leak-proof even in the most complicated disease models. This is furthered by the promising results from their in vivo testing in animal models, which also goes on to validate its compatibility with established delivery techniques. According to the company, no TAVI devices or related-technology till date has been able to achieve these lofty goals and ELS has got solid, positive reviews in favor of the test results from reputed vascular surgeons and interventional cardiologists worldwide. "TAVI, in due course, is expected to prove a real game changer, much like stents did in the treatment of coronary artery disease, and technology innovation in eliminating PVL, like the SEAL, will play a pivotal role in driving this transformative effect," says Mr Mitra.
However, ELS has more to offer. While their current focus is the rapidly growing TAVI market, expected to reach $2 billion worldwide in the next 2-3 years, their IP portfolio has strong applications for other key structural heart disease states. For example, the addressing of mitral valve disease using minimally invasive approach or Transcatheter Mitral Valve Implantation. The company has also diversified the applications of SEAL to eliminate the life-threatening Type1 endoleaks occurring in stent grafts that are used to treat abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysms, a market opportunity with double-digit growth, currently estimated at $1.5billion worldwide.
The company is yet to tread the challenging and uncertain path to commercialize this technology. "The most resource-efficient way to take this technology forward is by forming a strategic alliance with TAVI device companies to co-develop a blockbuster product," says Mr Mitra, while stating that alternative commercialization strategies are also being evaluated.
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