Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects 4.5 million people in Europe and more than 3 million in the US. It has seen a 33% rise over the last 20 years and almost 12 million people in the US alone are predicted to develop AF by 2030. In patients with AF, blood can pool and form thrombi in the left atrial appendage (LAA). These situations increase the risk of an ischemic stroke because the thrombi can enter the circulation and become lodged in the brain’s vasculature.
Currently available LAA closure technology is constructed of a rigid nitinol frame, which can be forced through the atrial wall during placement, causing potentially serious pericardial effusions. The rigid frame also does not accommodate all sizes or irregularly shaped appendages, sometimes resulting in incomplete occlusion.
The OccluNova technology is designed to more completely occlude the appendage by utilizing a pliable balloon to completely fill the entrance of the appendage. OccluNova’s technology eliminates the rigid nitinol frame and, instead, is made from a polyurethane balloon, designed to provide complete LAA closure regardless of appendage size or shape. Finally, there is no exposed metal on the OccluNova implant, reducing or eliminating the risk of thrombus formation.
OccluNova is an early-stage venture with advanced prototypes and has been tested in animal studies. The next stages involve officially transferring the technology from the licensee, building a manufacturing facility, securing Series A funding, testing and refining the device, and starting a first-in-human study by Q3/4 of 2024.
Meet the team
Venture partner at NLC
Alessandro joined NLC in April 2022 and brings over 20 years of experience in the MedTech industry. His passion lies in translating clinical needs into meaningful solutions, building purpose-driven 'tribes' of early adopters and taking impactful innovations from idea to business realisation. He has lived in four European countries and has travelled to more than 20 countries with great curiosity for healthcare systems, and the local food culture.