Amaranth Medical (no Web site yet), a Palo Alto start-up that develops bio-absorbable stents for peripheral and coronary vascular applications, said it has raised $7.5 million in a first round of funding led by Bio*One Capital of Singapore and Charter Life Sciences of Palo Alto.

From the release:

The proceeds of this financing will be used to advance the company’s bio-absorbable stents into human clinic trials. The company has developed a bio-absorbable urinary stent which will enter clinic trials shortly. The company’s bio-absorbable vascular stents are expected to enter clinical trials in 2007, initially for the treatment of peripheral vascular disease (“PVD”).

PVD is a major disease in developed countries, afflicting from 12 to 20 percent of people over the age of 65 in countries such as the United States, where PVD currently afflicts eight million people. Current treatment techniques, including metal stents, are only partially effective, and severe PVD, if not effectively treated, can result in limb amputation. Approximately 200,000 amputations take place in the United States each year as a result of limb ischemia.

Metal stents have a history of high fracture rates in the treatment of PVD, and Amaranth’s polymeric stents are expected to be much more durable than metal stents. Amaranth’s stents also have the great advantage of being bio-absorbable, so that stent treatment of the PVD affected vessel can be repeated if the vasculature closes again after time (restenosis), while re-treatment of the same portion of the vasculature is extremely difficult or impossible after treatment with a metal stent.