September 27, 2022

BioDGraft, an NLC venture, sets out to eliminate the need for vein harvesting in bypass surgeries, proposing a solution that lasts for life.

Cardiovascular disease causes 1 in every 4 deaths, making it the leading cause of death worldwide [1]

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a type of cardiovascular disease in which the coronary arteries are narrowed due to the build-up of fatty tissue inside the artery, ultimately limiting blood supply to the heart. Blockages in coronary arteries can have severe consequences, from shortness of breath to heart attacks. A standard treatment for CAD patients is coronary artery  bypass graft (CABG) surgery, a procedure that redirects blood around the blocked artery.

Each year, 1.5 million bypass surgeries are performed worldwide, requiring approximately 3 million grafts [2]. Grafts are blood vessels, such as veins or arteries, harvested from another part of the body and surgically attached above and below the blocked area of the coronary artery. Blood can bypass the blockage through this graft and supply the heart muscle with blood. 80% [3] of grafts are saphenous veins, which are harvested from the leg. Vein harvesting leaves long, deep wounds and involves various severe complications, including infections, deep venous thrombosis, and oedema (the swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in the body’s tissue).

Additionally, amputees or patients that do not possess enough healthy veins may not be able to undergo the harvesting phase of the bypass surgery. Furthermore, 50% of all grafts fail within 10 years [4], resulting in CAD patients needing repeat surgery, further increasing risk and costs, and decreasing the patient’s quality of life. These complications are highly traumatic for the CAD patient and very costly for the healthcare system. 

BioDGraft aims to reduce patient risk and health care costs by creating a graft that lasts for life.

A team of inventors from the Medical University of Vienna and TU Vienna have developed a novel, bioabsorbable polymer and process technology to create interconnected microporous structures. These features allow the body to heal itself through fast cell infiltration. Over time, new cells form around and within the polymer, creating a functional blood vessel while the polymer slowly absorbs and disintegrates. This newly created blood vessel has the potential to last for the patient’s life without any stimulus for chronic infection, calcification, or the need for repeat surgery. This invention eliminates the need for vein harvesting, leaving no additional wound, risk of infection, or pain. It is a door-opener for patients with severe diabetes, varicose veins, and amputations, as well as the cardiovascular surgical team. The invention also decreases procedure time and the patient’s hospital stay by at least 1 day, meaning there is a decrease in hospitalisation costs. 

Boris Warnack, CEO of BioDGraft: “We are developing a cutting-edge solution for vascular surgeons and CAD patients. Having a blood vessel that lasts for life is the holy grail. Currently, we can replace all kinds of things, but not a coronary artery. BioDGraft wants to change this by offering a solution that becomes the body’s own vessel over time. Our superior polymer enables a cutting-edge design, creating strong, patent grafts that don’t need additional stabilisation or later replacement.” 

Boris’ passion for life-changing, novel technology led him to join BioDGraft as CEO. Previously, Boris was CEO and CTO of Holistick Medical, an early-stage startup to develop a novel solution for heart-defect closure, and COO of Xeltis, a clinical-stage company to develop restorative cardiac and vascular surgery solutions. He is confident that BioDGraft’s invention can be translated from research into a viable product that will change the lives of all cardiovascular disease patients. 

Currently, BioDGraft is in the pre-clinical development stage and has carried out small animal studies with a 6-month follow-up. Additionally, the company has secured patents on their polymer materials, design and application by a worldwide exclusive licence. As of today, no synthetic graft is available for CAD patients needing bypass surgery. BioDGraft is filling a much-needed gap in the cardiovascular disease market.


BioDGraft GmbH

Boris Warnack · Venture CEO

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[1], [2] GlobalData 2021

[3], [4] Caliskan, E., de Souza, D.R., Böning, A., & et al. (2020).