News from the Ohio Venture Association meeting on March 12, 2010

Keynote Address:

2020 Vision:
Building a Global MedTech Company & Sector

Steve Arless
CEO, CardioInsight Technologies

With heart disease on the rise, a venture-backed Cleveland-based startup is working on developing the world's first non-invasive procedure for mapping the surface of diseased hearts, thus allowing cardiologists to provide better, more cost-effective therapies. "Forget the first, we'd be the first and only," the company's president, Steve Arless, told the March OVA luncheon.

CardioInsight Technologies, which springs from initial research conducted by two research fellows at Case Western Reserve University, is attempting to commercialize a revolutionary technology known as electrocardiographic mapping. The technology is used in guiding surgeons as they surgically repair arrhythmias in patients with heart disease and attempt to resynchronize the heart, by inducing the right and left chambers to pump more efficiently.

The long-term goal? A safe, simple and cost-effective screening method for sudden cardiac death. "Right now, there are 350,000 young, otherwise healthy people who drop dead every year, because their electrical system shuts down," said Arless.

The company recently closed a funding round, and Arless said it is also aggressively seeking funding from Ohio's Third Frontier program. To date, there have been three peer-reviewed studies of the technology, and human studies aimed at securing eventual FDA approval have begun in Europe, and more recently at the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.

Arless has more than 35 years of experience in the medical devices industry. Most recently, he served as president and CEO of CryoCath Technologies, Inc. taking it from a start-up in 1996 to a company recognized as one of the leading therapeutic catheter solutions for atrial fibrillation. Worldwide sales grew to more than $40 million, before Medtronic recently acquired the company. In 2006, Arless was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Since being recruited to CardioInsight nearly a year ago, Arless has in turn recruited a team of prominent figures with backgrounds in this niche. They include Dr. Harold Wodlinger, a biomedical engineer who developed the world's first electrophysiology recording system, as well as the former head of quality and regulatory affairs for the CT and imaging division of Phillips Medical.

Arless said he had learned his lesson from a mistake he made with his earlier start-up, and would seek a commercial partner early. In the prior start-up, he convinced his funders to turn down a $50-million purchase offer from Johnson & Johnson, sure that the company could do better without that money over time. That ultimately meant he had to raise about $200 million. This time, he said, he's already in discussion with several potential purchasers.

More information:

Keynote Webcast:

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Webcast produced by Mike Sutyak, The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative.

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