Irish medical devices company CroíValve raises 3.2 Million

Early-stage medical devices company CroíValve has raised €3.2 million oversubscribed seed financing round.

The company, which has developed a minimally invasive device to treat defective heart valves, is a spin-out from Trinity’s Centre for Bioengineering.

Its device is a safe and effective treatment for tricuspid regurgitation, a common heart condition that occurs when valves do not close properly. This causes blood to leak backwards, which can have a significant impact on how the heart functions.

The severe cardiac disease affects more than 550,000 people every year in the European Union and the United States. However, less than 1 per cent of these usually elderly patients receive surgical treatment, as they are deemed too frail. CroíValve’s solution though treats the condition quickly and cost effectively with no need for a long hospital stay.

CroíValve was established by Dr Lucy O’Keeffe and Dr Martin Quinn in 2016, although the concept for the device had been in development for a number of years prior to this.

The investment round was led by business angel network HBAN, which backed the start-up through its medtech and Irrus syndicates. A total of 48 angel investors subscribed to the round, investing a combined €1.5 million in the company.

Other backers included Atlantic Bridge University Fund, Enterprise Ireland, Seán O’Sullivan’s SOSV and a group of unnamed cardiologists.

CroíValve said it intends to use the funds to continue development of its device.

“We welcome the investors’ support in accelerating our development efforts and look forward to working together to bring this exciting technology to patients. In doing so we are currently building our team, particularly in the area of R&D, and by year-end 2019 we will have grown to a company of 10,” said Dr O’Keeffe.

In addition to the investment, HBAN syndicate member Dr Bernard Collins is to become CroíValve’s chairman.

A former executive at Boston Scientific, Dr Collins is a board member of several Irish life science companies, including Aerogen and Vivasure Medical.

Seperately, another Trinity spin-out, Azadyne has raised €1.75 million in its latest funding round, which was led by NCL Technology Ventures.

Azadyne has developed a new approach to the treatment of autoimmune diseases that focuses on an unexplored pathway in the body and is based on research conducted at Trinity College.

The start-up’s proprietary via the tRNA guanine transglycosylase (TGT) enzyme pathway has shown striking efficacy in pre-clinical studies against a range of autoimmune diseases yet does not compromise the body’s immune system. The company is currently completing pre-clinical work on its lead molecule.

Azadyne said the investment will support it as it progresses its innovative approach to autoimmune disease, with the first compounds expected to enter first-in-human trials in the short to medium term.