NUI Galway spin-out Atrian Medical raises €2.3m in seed funding

21 Oct 20191.65k Views

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Back from left: Barry O'Brien, Atrian Medical; Jonathon Kavanagh, WDC; Ken Coffey, Atrian Medical; Alan Hobbs, Enterprise Ireland; Declan Quinn, Xenium Capital. Front: John Reilly, Atrian Medical; and Eimear Gleeseon, Atlantic Bridge. Image: Aengus McMahon

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Atrian Medical will begin clinical trials with its solution for atrial fibrillation. The Galway-based company also plans to expand and hire.

On Monday (21 October), Irish medical device company Atrian Medical announced that it has closed €2.3m in seed funding.

The seed round was led by Western Development Commission (WDC) and Mayo Clinic Ventures. There was also participation from Atlantic Bridge University Fund, Enterprise Ireland and Xenium Capital.

Speaking to Siliconrepublic.com, Atrian Medical CEO Ken Coffey said that the funding would be used to commercialise the company’s treatment for atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat. The investment will support the company through first-in-human trials of its medtech device, which was conceived at the Mayo Clinic in the US.

The first patients treated with the device will be treated within one year. This trial will be carried out in collaboration with specialists in the University of Amsterdam Academic Medical Centre and Na Homolce Hospital in Prague.

The funding will also fuel expansion and hiring efforts within the company. “We’ll definitely be expanding and hiring both on the engineering side and the clinical regulatory side of things,” Coffey said.

‘A major paradigm shift’ 

When asked about the potential impact that the €2.3m funding could have on the future of Atrian Medial, Coffey added: “If we are successful with our clinical trial, this is going to be a major paradigm shift in the treatment of atrial fibrillation. It should be more efficacious and more long lasting [than existing treatments].”

The irregular heartbeat of atrial fibrillation causes patients to have palpitations, weakness, fatigue and dizziness. It affects 2pc of the population under the age of 65, and 9pc of the population over the age of 65. Patients with atrial fibrillation are five times more likely to experience a stroke due to the formation of blood clots.

The existing treatment options include anti-arrhythmic drugs and cardiac ablation. Atrian Medical said that these treatments have “limited efficacy and are associated with significant complications and repeat treatments”.

As a result, it said there is a large unmet need and market opportunity for new approaches to treatment. Atrian Medical’s device selectively treats five specific locations on the outside surface of the heart, where atrial fibrillation initiates. The device delivers short and precise electrical signals that ‘knock-out’ hyperactive neuronal cells at these locations.

“This reduces the overall ‘sensitivity’ of the heart to atrial fibrillation, providing a long-term and durable treatment as these hyperactive cells will not regenerate,” the company added.

‘Ground-breaking’

Coffey said: “We would like to thank Mayo Clinic Ventures, Enterprise Ireland, WDC, Atlantic Bridge, Xenium Capital and our angel investors for their tremendous support of Atrian.”

Atrian Medical co-founder and CTO Barry O’Brien added: “Our technology targets the source of the problem bringing together technical developments relating to pulsed electric fields and recent scientific findings in the field of cardiac electrophysiology. Several years of excellence at Mayo Clinic and NUI Galway gives us the confidence to bring this forward for patient trials.”

Dr Eimear Gleeson of the Atlantic Bridge University Fund said: “I am pleased to welcome NUI Galway spin-out Atrian Medical to the Atlantic Bridge University Fund portfolio.

“The company is pioneering a truly disruptive approach for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, a very common and debilitating problem. The technology that has been developed by the Atrian team is an excellent example of the ground-breaking, commercially-focused research being carried out in universities throughout Ireland.”

WDC investment fund executive Jonathon Kavanagh added: “Through this type of investment, WDC hopes to support this important market and continue to further Galway and the west of Ireland as a centre of excellence for medtech companies. We look forward to working closely with Ken, Barry and the team, and wish them success for the future.”

The WDC currently manages a portfolio value of €72m and has invested in more than 200 enterprises.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com