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October 19, 2007

Cardiac Device Co. Direct Flow Pumps Up With $27M Series B

By VentureWire Staff Reporters - VentureWire Professional

SANTA ROSA, CA -- (October 19, 2007) -- Cardiac device company Direct Flow Medical Inc. said it raised $27 million in Series B financing as it launches its European clinical trials. New investors Johnson & Johnson Development Corp. and Foundation Medical Partners led the round, joined by new investors VantagePoint Venture Partners and ePlanet Ventures, and existing investors EDF Ventures, New Leaf Venture Partners and Spray Venture Partners. Based in Santa Rosa, Calif., Direct Flow was founded in 2004 and is developing a percutaneous aortic tissue valve prosthesis for the repair of calcified aortic valves. The company said it launched its clinical trial three weeks ago with an initial implantation in Hamburg. Lee Wrubel, general partner at Foundation Medical, said he believes that percutaneous valve repair technology is a burgeoning field in heart treatment. "I think that percutaneous valve repair is one of the most exciting new opportunities in interventional cardiology," he said. "Valve repair has a high mortality rate and this is much safer for the patient." Wrubel said that unlike the current valve surgeries, performed by heart surgeons, percutaneous valve repair can be performed by cardiologists. "And remember, a patients has to see a cardiologist long before they see a heart surgeon," he said. "This is one more area where the heart surgeons will lose ground to the cardiologists." Aortic valve repair companies are further along than those targeting mitral valves, Wrubel said. And he said he found Direct Flow's technology is superior to others under development. "Most of the other systems are stent systems, they're big and bulky," he said. "What's unique about Direct Flow is their system of rings with balloons." He said that this system allows the device to be inserted more safely and repositioned if necessary before the balloons are inflated and a polymer injected, solidifying the device in place. In addition to Wrubel, Brad Vale, vice president of Johnson & Johnson Development, has joined Direct Flow's board. Direct Flow previously raised an $8 million Series A in August 2005. The company has 25 employees.


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