Syncardia ramping up production of its total artificial heart

To keep up with the demand for its total artificial heart, Tucson-based Syncardia is in the midst of a Series F funding round, a spokesman said. This isn’t new technology. The company’s had Food and Drug Administration approval for the device for just about a decade; however, Syncardia says it’s the only approved total artificial heart […]

To keep up with the demand for its total artificial heart, Tucson-based Syncardia is in the midst of a Series F funding round, a spokesman said.

This isn’t new technology. The company’s had Food and Drug Administration approval for the device for just about a decade; however, Syncardia says it’s the only approved total artificial heart (TAH) that eliminates the symptoms and source of heart failure. And it’s a highly niche market – the company last year implanted about 150 total artificial hearts. However, it’s an important stopgap for heart transplant surgery, according to the National Institutes of Health.

So far, Syncardia’s raised $6.4 million of a $15 million round, according to a regulatory filing. This follows pretty closely on the heels of a $14 million round late last year – with funding split between SWK Holdings and Athryium Opportunities Fund.

The workings of Syncardia’s CardioWest heart are actually outlined nicely by NIH:

A TAH usually extends life for months beyond what is expected with end-stage heart failure. If you’re waiting for a heart transplant, a TAH can keep you alive while you wait for a donor heart. A TAH also can improve your quality of life. However, a TAH is a very complex device. It’s challenging for surgeons to implant, and it can cause complications.

Currently, TAHs are used only in a small number of people. Researchers are working to make even better TAHs that will allow people to live longer and have fewer complications.

Here’s an NIH diagram of Syncardia’s device as it compares to a normal heart:

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