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£2.6m for radical new treatment for kidney dialysis patients

15.02.2006


An innovative new medical approach which could substantially improve the quality of life for over a million kidney dialysis patients, and bring huge savings to health services around the globe has received an investment round worth £2.6m.



The development of this new product has been made possible thanks to a major funding round of £2.6m led by NPI Ventures with funding from NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), who had previously invested £95,000 in the technology, Imperial College and Oxford Capital Partners.

At present, over a million kidney dialysis patients worldwide are treated by having a synthetic tube – called a vascular access graft - inserted under the skin, through which they are "hooked up" to a machine every few days.


Vascular access grafts are inserted beneath the skin so needles can be injected regularly and to maximise blood-flow to the dialysis machine. However, these can develop a potentially lethal disease, called ‘intimal hyperplasia’. This thickens the blood vessels, which is the most common reason for grafts needing to be replaced within a year, or for patients to undergo remedial surgery.

London-based Veryan Medical Ltd has developed SwirlGraft to combat this. It updates the standard synthetic grafts with a new spiral shape, allowing the blood to swirl through it, mimicking its natural action and reducing the likelikood of any problems.

By ensuring appropriate swirling blood flow through the dialysis graft and into the downstream vein, it stands to greatly reduce the disease by eliminating the stagnant flow regions where ‘intimal hyperplasia’ proliferates.

The SwirlGraft vascular access graft has undergone clinical trials at six hospitals in the Netherlands. During 2005 SwirlGraft was granted regulatory approvals in the US and Europe. This funding round will be used to develop the SwirlGraft and in particular to finance further clinical trials for the US market. The investment includes an option for a further £5.2m investment to further develop Veryan’s next high value product, the SwirlFlow vascular stent.

Mark White , Director of Invention & Innovation at NESTA, said:

"Veryan Medical is a great example of the kind of UK innovation our early stage seed funding is designed to support. Through investing in its innovative technology early on we are looking to ensure that this idea has every opportunity of being fully commercialised, benefiting patients, those working in healthcare, and the UK economy."

Joseph Meaney | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nesta.org.uk

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