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Amaranth's dissolving cardiac stent drives $25M fundraising round

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Amaranth's Fortitude cardiovascular stent--Courtesy of Amaranth Medical

Bioresorbable cardiovascular stents are gaining momentum and drawing more investor interest. This time, the spotlight falls on Amaranth Medical, which is well underway with plans to raise a $25 million Series B funding round.

Dow Jones reports that the ongoing fundraising has already drawn commitments from a number of undisclosed investors, plus existing ones including Bio*One Capital, Charter Life Sciences and Phillip Capital. The latest round for the California company (which launched initially in Singapore in 2005) follows a $7.5 million Series A financing in 2006 and interim money raised in the years since, the story notes.

The product isn't that far along yet. CEO Kamal Ramzipoor told Dow Jones the company is pursuing an ongoing clinical trial in South America, with 11 patients treated to date. Amaranth's goal is to win a CE mark in Europe for a drug-eluting version of its product, which would begin to dissolve after 3 to 6 months. U.S. clinical testing is envisioned, but no date is set yet.

With cardiac stents so ubiquitous these days, bioresorbable stents are poised to be the next big thing. Some researchers believe that stents increase the risk of stroke or further trouble down the line, and their ability to dissolve would literally eliminate that potential problem. But Amaranth, of course, is pursuing its share of the market in the wake of many other, larger rivals. Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) launched its Absorb drug-eluting bioresorbable vascular scaffold in Europe, parts of the Asia-Pacific and Latin America last fall, and a U.S. FDA approval submission is likely in 2014.

Also, bioresorbable stents have already hit India, the largest potential medical device market outside of China. And as the story notes, RVA Medial is developing a similar, drug-eluting bioresorbable stent of its own.

Amaranth says its bioresorbable stent is made of materials similar to Abbott's, but that there is a proprietary processing technique that gives it a higher molecular weight. Ramzipoor said that the variation makes its product a stronger and more flexible option than Abbott's.

- read the Dow Jones story

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