Aria CV, a company developing medical devices for pulmonary hypertension (PH), won the TCT 2018 Shark Tank Competition, a contest created to highlight the most innovative devices and technologies in the field of cardiovascular medicine.
The announcement was made by the nonprofit research and educational organization Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF), which is focused on improving the survival and quality of life of people living with heart and vascular disease.
The winner of this year’s competition was revealed during the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) 2018, an educational meeting specializing in interventional cardiovascular medicine, which took place this month at the San Diego Convention Center.
The winning team also received the Jon DeHaan Foundation Award for Interventional Innovation, a $200,000 prize.
“We are honored to name Aria CV as this year’s TCT Shark Tank Competition Winner for their innovative technology in pulmonary hypertension,” Juan F. Granada, MD, president and CEO of CRF, the sponsor of TCT, said in a press release.
“It’s a truly novel concept with potential to improve the survival and quality of life for people with heart disease,” he added.
Aria CV was founded by John Scandurra, DVM, and Karl Vollmers, PhD, both former students at the University of Minnesota’s Bakken Medical Devices Center, in 2010.
Aria CV’s device was designed to reduce the symptoms of idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH, idiopathic meaning of unknown cause), characterized by the progressive stiffening of the pulmonary arteries — the vessels carrying blood from the heart to the lungs for oxygenation — leading to heart complications and possibly heart failure.
The winning device consists of a balloon placed in the pulmonary artery that inflates and deflates in coordination with the heart cycle. It eased heart function and lessened symptoms associated with heart complications. The team expects the device to increase the rate of survival in IPAH patients.
This technology potentially can be expanded to patients in whom PH develops as a consequence of congestive heart failure, a chronic progressive disorder affecting the pumping power of the heart muscle.
In this fifth edition of the TCT Shark Tank Competition, seven companies were selected to present their technologies to a panel of multidisciplinary experts, which evaluated the candidates based on the following criteria: unmet clinical need, out-of-the-box concept, biological proof of concept, IP position/viability, regulatory pathway, and commercialization potential.
For the first time, the competition joined efforts with the Jon DeHaan Foundation to award the best technology. The foundation supports projects working on advancing cardiac medicine by providing grants and awards to individuals and companies focusing on innovative developments in the fields of research, diagnosis, prevention, treatment or rehabilitation.
“The Cardiovascular Research Foundation is grateful to the Jon DeHaan Foundation for this generous support of innovators in the filed who are dedicated to developing new treatments for heart disease,” Granada said.
Robert Schwartz, MD, chairman of the board of the Jon DeHaan Foundation, said the foundation is “firmly committed to its major mission in supporting cardiovascular disease innovation in many forms.
“The partnership with the Cardiovascular Research Foundation and TCT is an ideal collaboration to further this goal. We are pleasured to begin our joint efforts with the Shark Tank session at TCT 2018,” Schwartz added.
Now in its 30th year, the TCT meeting joins leading researchers and clinicians from around the world to present and discuss the latest medical breakthroughs in the field of cardiovascular medicine.
The conference also provides interactive training where clinicians can learn crucial skills to apply to their practices.