Ireland-UK, Innovation, 2020, EIT Health Ireland-UK

EIT Health supported start-up, CroíValve, announces first successful human use of its device

15th April 2020

From receiving EIT Health funding back in 2017 to its first successful human use of its device in February of this year, CroíValve is paving the way for new and minimally invasive treatment options for patients with tricuspid regurgitation.

The Heart Team at St James’s Hospital Dublin performed the first human use of CroíValve’s Duo Tricuspid Coaptation Valve technology to treat a patient with severe tricuspid regurgitation.

Currently, the treatment for tricuspid regurgitation (TR), a chronic condition where the valve between the chambers on the right side of the heart fails to work and leaks blood backwards, is limited. The condition commonly affects the elderly population and can be associated with other heart conditions, which means only a small minority with TR are eligible for open heart surgery.

Like many others, the patient faced limited treatment options. Therefore, the Irish regulatory body HPRA approved the procedure under a compassion care use case.

The first of its kind for the Trinity College Dublin spin-out, CroíValve’s CEO, Lucy O’Keeffe, reports positive feedback on the procedure.

“The patient has responded very well in that acute setting to treatment and they are planning further intervention for her, which is great,” says O’Keeffe.

Additionally, the St James’s Heart Team were impressed with the device’s efficacy. “Given that you want to minimise the amount of blood leaking back, the reduction in regurgitation was impressive.”

Bolstered by their recent success, the CroíValve team has additional clinical sites activated where they are set to run first-in-human trials.

And while the device is currently used as a temporary measure to assess the acute effect of tricuspid valve repair on heart function, CroíValve is in the design phase to develop a permanent implant.

Encouraged by promising developments, the team is focused on developing further clinical data to prove the wider impact they can have on the lives of those with TR.

“It’s about building that clinical data with our device to prove that it has a real clinical benefit for patients in terms of providing a safe, minimally invasive means of treating their disease and relieving their symptoms,” says O’Keeffe, when talking about CroíValve’s next steps.

And with this success taking place in the Dublin-based team’s home country, will this lead to future collaborations in Ireland?

According to O’Keeffe, it’s a possibility. She says: “We were very impressed with the collaboration in Ireland, both from the physician perspective and the regulatory perspective, so we’ll certainly consider further work here.”

Whatever the CroíValve team decide to do, they’re definitely one to look out for.

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