Israeli startup Laminate Medical Technologies, which is developing a support device for blood vessels implanted in patients in need of dialysis, announced an $8 million financing round on Tuesday. A number of European funds and a Chinese pharma giant participated in Laminate’s current (B) round. Previous investors in the Laminate also took part, including Nava and Yehuda Zisapel, Zohar Gilon, Eri Steimatzky, and Henit Vitus. Since CEO Tammy Gilon and Dr. Eyal Orion founded Laminate in 2012, the company has raised a total of $13 million, including the current round.
Several hospitals already using the product
The device developed by Laminate, called VasQ, is designed for patients suffering from renal failure who need dialysis. These patients must first undergo an operation called a fistula, in which a connection is made between a vein and an artery using blood vessels, usually in the palm or elbow area. Through this connection, two intravenous needles are inserted: one for the purpose of removing the patient’s blood in order to filter it in the dialysis machine and the other for returning the filtered blood to the patient’s body. The connection is necessary in order to ensure a strong enough flow of blood for transferring a large volume of it.
However, the problem is that differences in pressure on the wall of the vein create a blockage in the vein in more than half of the cases. As a result, the body makes the vein thicker, which interferes with the flow of blood during dialysis. The result is that the patients affected in this way must undergo the operation again. This detracts from the treatment’s effectiveness and creates a burden on the hospital’s resources.
To deal with this problem, Laminate has developed a special device that acts as a sleeve fitting on the vein,creating an optimal geometric configuration with the artery. This configuration helps lower the tension in the artery, thereby facilitating a proper flow of blood during dialysis. VasQ is already CE-certified, and the process of obtaining FDA approval is underway. A number of hospitals in Europe and Israel are already using the VasQ.
Commenting on the recent financing round, Gilon says, “The technique for a fistula operation hasn’t changed since it was first used in 1966. In view of the high percentage of failure rate in this surgery, a solution is needed that will enable renal failure patients on dialysis to avoid repeating the operation every few years, or in many cases after only a few months, which has a negative effect on the treatment. The current round will enable us to expand our business in Europe, where we are already working successfully with leading hospitals in the UK, Switzerland, Italy and Germany, while simultaneously completing clinical trials and the FDA approval process in the US. For this purpose, we are now adding experienced medical device professionals to our team and opening a branch in the US.”