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NeoChord does first artificial heart chord implantation in European trial

The first patient in NeoChord Inc.’s European clinical trial has been implanted with an artificial chord to treat his faulty heart valve.

MINNETONKA, Minnesota — The first patient in NeoChord Inc.’s European clinical trial has been implanted with an artificial chord to treat his faulty heart valve.

NeoChord supplies artificial chordae tendineae – the thread-like tissues that anchor the leaflets of the mitral valve to heart muscle — and the technique and tools that enable surgeons to implant the chords. Rather than repair a mitral valve through highly invasive open-heart surgery, surgeons using NeoChord’s technology can implant the artificial chords with a probe-like device through a small incision in the chest.

The trial is being conducted in Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Norway.

“We are very pleased with the early results of this first procedure,” said Per Wierup, who with Sten Lyager Nielsen performed the surgery. “The patient is an otherwise healthy, very active 47-year-old male who preferred to not have a sternotomy or cardiopulmonary bypass to fix his severe mitral regurgitation.

“The NeoChord approach has successfully treated his mitral regurgitation and potentially offers him a quick return to his military career and favorite hobby, scuba diving.”

Dr. Giovanni Speziali, the cardiac surgeon who is the primary inventor of the NeoChord device, attended the procedure. “These results, although early, are equivalent to what we obtain in traditional open heart surgery for correction of mitral regurgitation,” said Dr. Speziali. The NeoChord technology was developed by Speziali and other doctors at the Mayo Clinic and is exclusively licensed to the company.

“We’re very pleased to have achieved the first-in-man milestone and want to extend our very best wishes to the patient and his family,” said John Seaberg, NeoChord’s chief executive. “This successful outcome is the result of several years of hard work by our product development staff and our clinical advisors. I’m extremely proud of the extended NeoChord team.”

In June, NeoChord raised at least $2.8 million to continue to develop its novel approach to mitral valve repair, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.