The founders of a Westminster startup have their hearts in the right place.
CardioNXT co-founders Jerome Edwards and Dr. Bobby Kurian raised $1.5 million to test a tool they say will let doctors see inside the heart without increasing the cost of surgery.
“What we focus on here at CardioNXT is the electrical wiring of your house,” said Edwards, who studied engineering and computer science at Colorado School of Mines. “We have a technology that can essentially image the electrical wiring of your heart.”
CardioNXT has raised $920,000, according to SEC documents filed June 13. Investors include Solas BioVentures, the company said.
Surgeons like Kurian sometimes use a catheter to destroy pieces of tissue causing an irregular heartbeat. For many years, their approach was anatomical: they couldn’t see the tissue disrupting electrical impulses, so they targeted certain areas of the heart.
But to locate where the “wiring” needs repair, doctors can detect electrical impulses inside the heart using electrodes. Gadgets include a catheter with 64 electrodes that inflates into a basket shape inside the heart, and a vest with 256 electrodes for patients to wear.
Each produces a three-dimensional image of the heart, and adds between $5,000 and $7,000 to the cost of a surgery, Kurian said.
“That isn’t sustainable,” he said. “Our mission is to provide innovative technologies in a cost-conscious fashion.”
Instead of adding new hardware and more electrodes, CardioNXT’s catheter pairs just one electrode with software to piece together the data it collects into a 3-D picture.
“We basically just plug into the existing set of instrumentation and our computer does the rest,” said Edwards. “We have a really unique algorithm that is able to extract more information out of the standard instrumentation.”
Edwards, who worked for Medtronic and befriended Kurian while starting a company that images lung biopsies, said CardioNXT is completing preclinical testing and expects to receive regulatory clearance in about nine months.
Startups that developed competing technologies already have had nine-figure exits. The company that made the basket catheter, Topera, was acquired by Abbott Labs for $250 million in 2014. Medtronic purchased CardioInsight Technologies, the makers of the vest, for $100 million plus additional undisclosed payments in 2015.
Rather than hire a sales force and manufacture the electronics and catheters, Edwards said the seven full-time employees in Westminster will focus on designing the product.
“We will be searching for the right commercial partner to take our product to market subsequent to achieving FDA clearance,” he said.