Life saving heart pump to go into production this year creating 100 jobs in Swansea

A life saving heart pump developed by a Swansea medtech firm is expected to go into production later this year, creating around a hundred jobs.

Calon Cardio-Technology was co-founded by Dr Marc Clement, the former Dean of Swansea University’s School of Management.

The company is based at the Institute of Life Sciences at Swansea University

WalesOnline reports Calon has entered into a partnership with Leviticus Cardio, an Israeli business that specialises in wireless technology, which will see heart pumps produced for the US and EU markets.

Marc Clement said “Severe heart failure is the most life-threatening medical condition in all age groups across the globe.

“Implantable heart pumps, known as Ventricular Assist Devices (or VADs), have proven to sustainably increase long term survival.

“However, due to the need for tethering to an external power source using a cable exiting the body through the abdomen, these devices have not yet been fully accepted as mainstream therapy.

“Now, for the first time globally, a compact, fully implantable VAD (known as FiVAD) has been successfully implemented by combining the Calon Cardio MiniVAD with the versatile, fully implantable wireless energy recharging system of Leviticus Cardio.”

He said a sixty day, pre-clinical study undertaken at the Catholic University of Leuven had successfully validated the integration of the two technologies.

He added “This new disruptive technology, FiVAD, will allow a patient a full day without a cable or connection to any external equipment whatsoever. The recharging process itself only requires a light belt around the patient’s chest during the night.

“The successful elimination of the electric power cable is a major step forward leading to a near-normal quality of life for these severely ill patients.

“It will convince physicians around the world that VAD therapy has reached the point of routine use and will lead to widespread application of this life saving therapy.”

His colleague Stuart McConchie, Chief Executive of Calon, said “The combination of our MiniVAD, designed to optimise blood handling, and the Leviticus wireless technology provides a safe and usable truly wireless VAD system, representing major progress in blood pump technology.

“Together this FiVAD will significantly improve the lives of vast numbers of late-stage heart failure patients.”

Michael Zilbershlag, chief executive of Leviticus Cardio, said “Our study has demonstrated that the combination of the very effective Calon MiniVAD and the Leviticus FiVAD offers for the first time a fully functioning heart pump without the need to be recharged for more than 10 hours allowing freedom from any external equipment for a whole working day.”

The company has been supported financially by the Welsh Government’s Development Bank of Wales, by UK Government grants, Longbow Capital, and more recently by the UK Future Fund programme.

Calon has also drawn significant support from UK, US, and EU equity investors.

Marc Clement said “We have been developing this project for the last 18 months. We have a lease on premises in Llansamlet and will be creating around 100 jobs. Production will begin later this year.”

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