Galway, Ireland-headquartered WhiteSwell has closed a $30m series B funding round to support a pivotal trial and advance the development of its therapy system for the treatment of acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF).
Heart failure occurs when the heart is not pumping enough blood to meet the needs of the body, with main symptoms including shortness of breath and feeling unusually tired, according to the British Heart Foundation. Statistics from the Global Heart Failure Awareness Programme published in 2014 indicated that approximately 26 million people were living with heart failure worldwide, and the number was predicted to grow in countries with ageing populations.
In a paper published in the Texas Heart Institute Journal, ADHF is defined as “the sudden or gradual onset of the signs or symptoms of heart failure requiring unplanned office visits, emergency room visits, or hospitalization”. Patients with ADHF experience difficulty breathing and fatigue due to build-up of fluid in the body.
Founded in 2014 by its now Chief Technology Officer Yaacov Nitzan, WhiteSwell is developing a minimally invasive catheter-based approach to remove excess fluid in the interstitial system in patients with ADHF more efficiently, aiming to achieve complete decongestion and help keep patients out of hospital for longer periods of time.
“I am excited about the potential for WhiteSwell’s therapy to accomplish complete decongestion with preservation of renal function, which is considered the holy grail of ADHF treatment,” said William Abraham, M.D. and Director of the Cardiovascular Medicine division at the Ohio State University. “I was immediately intrigued by WhiteSwell’s ingenuity in targeting the lymphatic system, which plays a major role in fluid management, moving interstitial fluid into the vascular system.”
WhiteSwell’s therapy system is currently limited to investigational use in clinical trials since it does not have regulatory approval in the US or the EU. The company is currently conducting an early feasibility study at clinical sites in the US, Israel and Europe.
The Series B funding round was led by RA Capital Management and InCube Ventures, with participation from other investors.
“We’re looking forward to working with WhiteSwell’s experienced leadership team to deliver a compelling new therapy for ADHF, and we see the potential for it to become a blockbuster medtech product,” said Andrew Farquharson, Incube Ventures Managing Director and Co-founder. “The WhiteSwell approach is disruptive therapy in an area that has experienced relatively little innovation in the past few decades.”
Earlier this year, Eamon Brady and Seán Mac Réamoinn, most recently the CEO and Chief Financial Officer, respectively, of stroke care firm Neuravi, which was acquired by life sciences giant Johnson & Johnson in 2017, joined the company as its new CEO and CFO.