Eamon Brady, WhiteSwell CEOCourtesy of WhiteSwell
A small medtech company is looking at tackling a huge problem in one of the toughest markets to navigate in healthcare. Galway, Ireland-based WhiteSwell has set its sights on developing a minimally invasive catheter approach that can drain the excess fluid that can be found in acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) patients.
But WhiteSwell isn’t going into this endeavor unprepared or without support. The small medtech company said it has just raised $30 million in a round led by RA Capital Management and an InCube Ventures syndicate, with participation from other investors.
“The $30 million is a pretty sizable raise for a company that is just 4-years-old,” Eamon Brady, WhiteSwell’s CEO, told MD+DI. “The funding will be used to advance product development in a second generation of our technology that is in the pipeline at the moment. We want to bring that to the clinic.”
Funds from the round will also be used to support a pivotal study of WhiteSwell’s technology.
“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,” Andrew Farquharson, Managing Director and Co-founder of InCube Ventures, said in a release. “The WhiteSwell approach is disruptive therapy in an area that has experienced relatively little innovation in the past few decades.”
In healthy individuals, the lymphatic system continuously captures fluid from tissues throughout the body and pumps it back into the vascular system to maintain homeostasis. 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.
Often times complete decongestion is difficult to achieve with current ADHF treatments, which focus on removal of excess fluid from the vascular system.
WhiteSwell’s approach is focused on a different route and targets removal of excess fluid in the interstitial system, the fluid-filled spaces in connective tissue all over the body that are outside of the vascular system.
“What WhiteSwell is doing, is trying to take fluid more directly out of the tissues in the body, more particularly the lungs – using the lymphatic system,” Brady said. “It is a different approach and we are the first company to try and treat heart failure using the lymphatic system.”
WhiteSwell is currently conducting an early feasibility study at clinical sites in the U.S., Israel, and Europe.