Chinese pharma company pumps $10 million in Israeli heart tech


Herzliya-based Endospan scored an investment of $10 million from Chinese medical company Xizang Haisco Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd (or Haisco for short), giving the investor exclusive rights to Endospan’s aorta-repairing solutions in China. It brings the total amount of funds raised to $25 million. The company is currently valued at approximately $100 million, according to Israeli news site Calcalist (Hebrew).

It is part of the second round of investments for Endospan, which included returning investors Sequoia Capital and the Accelmed Fund, which maintains investments in other vascular repair companies like Eximo Medical and SoniVie. They also have previous investments from the SCP Vitalife Fund. It is presumed that representatives from Haisco will sit on Endospan’s board.

Endospan has two main products: the Nexus™ to repair damage to the aortic arch (pumping blood from the heart to the rest of the body) and the Horizon™ to repair abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA: an excessive enlargement of the aortic artery in the area behind the abdominal muscles). They also filed for several patents in the United States for their products.

Pumping liquid into an enlarged industry

They are part of a growing collection of companies using less invasive methods for endovascular (or within blood cells) stent grafts and heart surgery. Israel-based Valtech Cardio, which was acquired by Heartware last month for nearly $1 billion in stock, uses similar techniques to implant rings for annuloplasty operations.

Haisco is the second largest medical technology corporation in China, does $800 million worth of business every year, and has a reported market value of $4 billion. They have invested in a number of Israeli companies working on minimally invasive surgical procedures, including $13 million in MST and their “image-based laparoscope positioning system” and $18 million in Sensible, a company working on more efficient thoracentesis techniques, or removing fluid from the lungs.

One estimate by MediPoint sees the stent graft industry valued as high as $1.9 billion by 2020. The industry within China is projected to grow 10.55% annually through 2019 (down from an 18% projection in 2014) according to a report earlier this year by Technavio. Major competitors include MicroPort, Medtronic, W.L. Gore, JoTech, Cook Medical, Terumo, and Endologix, among others. On AAAs, they have stiff competition from companies like TriVascular and Vascutek’s Anaconda™. Neither Endoscope nor Haisco are listed as prominent competitors in either report, but this investment indicates Haisco wants a piece of the action.

CEO Alon Shalev and CTO Rafi Benary founded Endospan in 2009. The board currently includes Yoav Shaked of Sequoia; Mori Arkin and Dr. Uri Geiger of Accelmed; and Wayne Weisman and Dr. Avi Ludomirsky of SCP. They currently have 40 employees and are headquartered in Herzliya, Israel. To see how their AAA solution works, watch the video below.


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