It started with a team. Then the dream came, and venture capital firms took notice.
That’s probably the best way to describe the evolution of Capstan and how the Santa Cruz, CA-based startup began developing a catheter-based robotic delivery platform for valve implants, said Capstan CEO Maggie Nixon.
“The interesting about how that group came back together – The CTO, Dan Wallace had just transacted the Cephea valve to Abbott (Laboratories) and had gone through that whole transition. And the team all of a sudden became available again,” Nixon, told MD+DI.
She noted, “[Wallace] said it was one of the best teams he had worked on and with in a long time. It’s a strong team and they have a great background. He said let’s go and talk with a lot of our clinician partners and figure out what we should work on. The team decided the mitral valve still had a long way to go and they had some ideas on how to tackle it.”
However, to overcome recent challenges with the procedures, the company began to look at a more effective way to treat mitral and tricuspid disease. Capstan’s technology is designed to be inserted through a catheter while the heart is still beating.
“I jokingly say that we’ve backed into a robot,” Nixon said. “It was not in the first vision of what we were solving for, but in order to really fundamentally address the market in a powerful way, we landed in that space.”
And the company’s vision is being well received by investors. Earlier this month the company raised an oversubscribed $31.4 million series B investment led by Eclipse. Additional participating investors include Intuitive Ventures and Puma Venture Capital, a new firm founded by Amit Hazan, a veteran Wall Street medical technology analyst, and Dr. Vipul Patel, a robotic surgeon who has performed more robotic procedures than any other surgeon worldwide.
The company is locking in its design this year. By the end of next year, Nixon said the company wanted to do its first-in-human cases.