Galway-based medtech startup WhiteSwell is developing a new catheter-based treatment to treat acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) – a recurring condition that results in millions of hospitalizations each year.
WhiteSwell has just raised €26.4 million in a Series B funding round led by RA Capital Management and InCube Ventures, with participation from other investors. The company will use the funding to support product development and to perform clinical trials for its innovative treatment of ADHF.
Founded by CTO Yaacov Nitzan in 2014, WhiteSwell is pioneering a minimally invasive, catheter-based approach to more efficiently remove excess interstitial fluid in patients with ADHF, by enhancing the natural fluid removal process of the lymphatic system.
In healthy individuals, the lymphatic system continuously captures fluid from tissues throughout the body and pumps it back into the vascular system. However in ADHF patients, the heart does not pump effectively, excess fluid collects in the tissues of the body (the interstitial system) and blood pressure rises. Excess tissue fluid and high blood pressure interfere with the natural fluid removal process of the lymphatic system, which can further exacerbate congestion.
The condition requires immediate treatment to remove excess fluid in a process called decongestion. Complete decongestion is the goal of ADHF treatment, as residual congestion at hospital discharge is the strongest predictor of rehospitalization and death. As many as half of ADHF patients are discharged from the hospital not fully decongested, and 25% of ADHF patients are readmitted to the hospital within one month. Currently there is no effective treatment on the market to directly remove excess fluid from the lungs and other tissues in order to attain full decongestion – a problem which WhiteSwell seeks to cure.
William Abraham, M.D., director, division of Cardiovascular Medicine at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, said: “I am excited about the potential for WhiteSwell’s therapy to accomplish complete decongestion with preservation of renal function, which is considered the holy grail of ADHF treatment. I was immediately intrigued by WhiteSwell’s ingenuity in targeting the lymphatic system, which plays a major role in fluid management, moving interstitial fluid into the vascular system.”
Andrew Farquharson, Managing Director and Co-founder of InCube Ventures, added: “We’re looking forward to working with WhiteSwell’s experienced leadership team to deliver a compelling new therapy for ADHF, and we see the potential for it to become a blockbuster medtech product. The WhiteSwell approach is disruptive therapy in an area that has experienced relatively little innovation in the past few decades.”