Russian startup presents biodegradable stent

As many as 714.5 mio people in the world suffer from cardiovascular diseases, in particular atherosclerosis. With atherosclerosis, blood vessels become narrowed by fatty deposits called plaques, which reduce, and may eventually shut down, blood flow. Every year, 17.5 mio people die from cardiovascular diseases.

Every year, about 6 mio operations are performed on vessels and arteries. A startup from Ulyanovsk, Modern Technologies Innovative Company, has developed a prototype of a biodegradable endovascular implant that can replace metallic ones. The idea is that, after the patient undergoes treatment that clears their vessel from the plaque, the implant also dissolves without a trace, while a metallic stent is implanted into the vessel and remains in the body forever, causing further vasoconstriction, Vladislav Shchepochkin, co-owner and technical director of the medical startup, explained to Invest Foresight.

Established in 2012, Modern Technologies Innovative Company is co-owned by five investors. The biggest share, 49%, belongs to the Ulyanovsk Сenter for Technology Transfer; a 29% stake is owned by center’s CEO, Leonid Glushchenko – an endovascular surgeon at the Ulyanovsk Regional Hospital; 12.5% is held by Yulia Leibel; 7%, Vladislav Shchepochkin; and 2.5%, by Aidar Sharafeyev (source: Kontur.Focus). At the same time, Ulyanovsk Сenter for Technology Transfer is 63.8% owned by the Ulyanovsk Nanotechnology Center (Rusnano), while 36.2% is held by the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs owned by the government of the Ulyanovsk Region.

The implants developed by the company are made of a polymer with an undisclosed chemical composition. They are manufactured under contract in the USA and Germany. The stents are inserted through an opening in the artery and delivered to where the plaque is located. Each implant is individually made, because different patients have different vessels. After 12 months, the bio-implants dilate the blood vessels and dissolve. The patient needs to take medication for six months.

“Foreign companies offer similar implants for small coronary vessels, but without shape memory. Our device with shape memory expands in the bloodstream under the influence of the blood temperature, without any balloon catheter,” Shchepochkin says.

The company has already obtained eight patents for the invention, including patenting the material and the stent delivery method. Pre-clinical trials on animals — chinchillas and pigs — are underway in a special laboratory in Shanghai. A similar center has recently opened in Perm; perhaps tests will be also conducted there.

The polymer stent will cost $1,200, compared to $800 for a metallic one; sales will start in 2021. In 2022, Modern Technologies expects to receive a FDA approval (US Food and Drug Administration) and make RUR 736.8 mio ($11.2 mio). The company expects to take over 0.5% of the global market for stents in the first year of sales. The amount of investment in the project is not disclosed.

By Natalia Kuznetsova

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