Evalve pulls in $60M, heating up heart-valve implant race

Evalve, a Menlo Park, Calif., developer of minimally invasive heart-valve repair implants, raised $60 million in a fourth funding round.

mr-pre-mitraclip.jpgEvalve’s device is designed to replace risky open-heart surgery for patients whose mitral valve, which regulates blood flow between the left two chambers of the heart, fails to close properly. The device allows interventional cardiologists to thread an implant clip through the femoral artery of the leg to the heart, where it can pin together two “leaflets” on the mitral valve.

The images at left show the mitral valve prior to the procedure and following installation of the company’s MitraClip. (Obviously, these represent a somewhat idealized view of how this is all supposed to work.) Evalve also has a video illustrating the technique at its Web site here.

mr-post-mitraclip.jpgThe company said the funding will lay the groundwork for commercial launch of its MitraClip device in Europe and to complete late-stage human tests of the device in the U.S. Evalve is still enrolling patients in that study, which will compare MitraClip to standard open-heart surgery. and expects to complete enrollment next year. Patients will be followed for 24 months following the procedure.

Investors included BBT Fund, Delphi Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Split Rock Partners and Abbott Laboratories. Evalve isn’t alone in this market, although it appears to be ahead of one rival we’ve previously covered, Cardiosolutions (see here).

Cardiosolutions aims to restore mitral-valve function with a paddle-type implant that pushes the valve’s leaflets closed during ventricular contraction. For additional — albeit somewhat dense — explanation, plus its own video of the process, see the company’s site here.