Galway med firm raises €12 million to fund first product

A MEDICAL devices group based in Ballybrit has raised $17.3 million (€12.4 million ) in funding to launch the company’s first product — a coronary stent designed to prevent blockages of smaller arteries feeding the heart.

Cappella, Inc is a medical device company that is developing novel solutions for the treatment of Complex Coronary Artery Disease (CAD ) and specifically bifurcation vascular disease and it confirmed this week that it has received funding for the launch of its initial product, the Sideguard(TM ) Sidebranch stent.

This technology addresses an unmet medical need in CAD. The company was founded in 2004 by Antonio Columbo, MD, Chief of Invasive Cardiology at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy, and Ascher Shmulewitz, M.D., PhD., a cardiologist, medical device entrepreneur and founder of NeoVision, Xcardia and Labcoat Ltd., and established its headquarters in Ballybrit, with the backing of Polytechnos Venture Partners and ACT Venture Capital.

Cappella specialises in developing stents that aid treatment of complex coronary artery disease. Specifically, it addresses what is called “bifuraction vascular disease” – preventing blockages at the point where smaller arteries branch off larger blood vessels.

The Sideguard(TM ) Sidebranch stent is an anatomically shaped self-expanding coronary stent that utilizes a unique peel-away delivery system. Both the stent and this delivery system were developed by Cappella Medical Devices Ltd. The unique delivery technology overcomes a number of delivery problems associated with existing nitinol stents, including reduced profile and improved placement accuracy over traditional delivery systems. Cappella Medical Devices Ltd.,is the R&D and manufacturing subsidiary of Cappella Inc.

Ena Prosser, a director with Fountain Healthcare Partners, one of the new investors to come on board in the current fundraising, explains that inserting traditional stents – small metal mesh tubes placed in arteries to hold them open and prevent further blockages following angioplasty procedures – can displace tissue. This tissue can block smaller arteries.

Cappella’s first product, the Sideguard Sidebranch stent, has received approval from regulators for sale in the European market – estimated to account for just under 40 per cent of the $1 billion worldwide market in bifurcation coronary artery disease – roughly one in four of those people who receive coronary stents.

The company has spent around €25 million over the past four years developing the new stent, which flares at one end to work around the point of intersection between arteries.

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