Houston-based medical device company Procyrion Inc. has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation, as part of the FDA Pediatric Device Consortia grant program. The award provides five innovators up to $50,000 each to develop their technology.
Procyrion is developing Aortix, a first-in-class intra-aortic pump designed for the treatment of chronic heart failure, which affects 1.6 million people in the U.S. who currently have few therapeutic options. The device works as a continuous-flow pump, delivered by a catheter inserted through the femoral artery and held in place using novel self-expanding anchors. Following deployment, the catheter is fully removed, while the anchored pump and a small diameter, flexible electrical power wire stay, and may be tunneled to a desired transdermal exit site or to a Transcutaneous Energy Transfer system for subcutaneous implantation without an indwelling power lead. Within ten minutes, this small size device allows a minimally invasive outpatient procedure.
Aortix has been drawing the market’s attention to Procyrion since early this year, when the Texas Emerging Technology Fund delivered the Houston company a second tranche of a $1.5 million funding. Later on, Procyrion was selected, among 281 abstracts submitted for consideration, to present its device at the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs 60th annual conference.
This time, Procyrion will partner with Maxon Precision Motors and use the grant funds to modify the adult Aortix device for use in children born with single ventricle heart defects.
In order to optimize the circulatory assist device for pediatric use, Maxon Precision Motors will donate a supply of modified motors and engineering support to the project. The Houston team, who has already begun optimizing the flow profile needed to clinically manage single ventricle physiologies associated with the Fontan procedure, will adapt the device to fit a child.
The reason why this is possible is the “small form factor of Aortix,” which “makes it very useful for the pediatric patient,” explains Ben Hertzog, president and CEO of Procyrion. According to him, the goal is that minor modifications will allow to create a first-in-class device for pediatric patients with failing circulation.
Procyrion is also working with Dr. Charles Fraser, chief of congenital heart surgery and cardiac surgeon-in-charge, and Dr. Daniel Penny, chief of pediatric cardiology at Texas Children’s Hospital to help ensure this early work leads to a clinically useful device.