Medtech start-up CroíValve raises €3.2m in record angel round

28 Mar 2019

From left: Dr Lucy O’Keeffe, CEO, CroíValve; Helen Ryan, senior adviser, Atlantic Bridge; Bernard Collins, chair, CroíValve; and Dr Martin Quinn, CMO, CroíValve. Image: CroíValve

Trinity spin-out has developed a minimally invasive treatment for life-threatening heart conditions.

Dublin medtech start-up CroíValve has raised €3.2m in a funding round involving a record number of angel investors.

The round was led by the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) MedTech and Irrus syndicates, alongside Atlantic Bridge University Fund, Enterprise Ireland, SOSV and cardiologists who see the treatment’s transformative potential.

‘CroíValve was established from a desire to bring a new, safe treatment option that can change and save lives’

A record 48 HBAN business angels have invested €1.5m in the company, the largest ever number of HBAN members to contribute to one funding round. The funding will support the continued development of CroíValve’s innovative technology.

“As angel investors, we are not just providing capital to CroíValve, but also knowledge of, and contacts within, the medtech sector,” said Bernard Collins, the new chair of CroíValve and a member of the HBAN MedTech syndicate. “This will help to open doors for CroíValve and enable the company to scale and commercialise its device.”

Take heart from this

CroíValve, a spin-out from the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, has developed a minimally invasive treatment for tricuspid regurgitation (TR).

This serious heart condition occurs when the leaflets of the tricuspid valve – the valve separating the heart’s right ventricle and right atrium – fail to close properly due to dilation of the right heart chambers, allowing blood to leak backwards into the right atrium.

The severe cardiac disease affects more than 550,000 people every year in the EU and US. Less than 1pc of these usually elderly patients receive surgical treatment, as they are deemed too frail.

CroíValve’s innovative technology specifically addresses the challenges associated with tricuspid heart valve disease. The device is delivered through the heart’s blood vessels and seals the gap between the native valve leaflets, therefore restoring the heart’s function and preventing regurgitation. The device is held in place with a unique anchoring system that removes the need for potentially traumatic anchoring into the right heart. The procedure has been deemed safe, simple and effective. With more than half-a-million new cases of the heart condition annually in the US and EU alone, there is a significant unmet need and market opportunity.

“To date, all treatment options are either too invasive or merely symptom management,” CroíValve co-founder and CEO Dr Lucy O’Keeffe explained.

“CroíValve was established from a desire to bring a new, safe treatment option that can change and save lives.

“We welcome the investors’ support in accelerating our development efforts and look forward to working together to bring this exciting technology to patients,” O’Keeffe said.

“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. As part of this expansion, we are delighted to welcome Dr Ivan Vesely as our CTO, and the extensive knowledge that he brings. Additionally, we have established a great board, with Bernard Collins, one of our investors from the HBAN MedTech syndicate, bringing vast experience as chair.”

HBAN, the leader of this funding round, is an all-island organisation responsible for the promotion of business angel investment. It is an initiative of Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and Invest Northern Ireland.

“We believe the CroíValve team has developed a truly novel device that represents a disruptive approach to the treatment of tricuspid valve regurgitation and is an excellent example of the commercialisation of groundbreaking Irish research,” said Helen Ryan, senior adviser at Atlantic Bridge.

Disclosure: SOSV is an investor in Silicon Republic

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years