OneProjects, an Irish-German medical device start-up specialising in cardiac imaging solutions, has secured $17 million (€14.7 million) in new financing. The investment comes on the back of an €11 million fundraise 16 months ago.
The new funding consists of an $8 million extension of last year’s Series A funding round and two grants worth a combined $9 million.
OneProjects employs around 20 people in Munich and seven in Dublin, although the company now intends to add staff locally with 10-12 new research and development roles being created.
"The new investment allows us to complete product development, conduct clinical trials, hire more people and effectively keep us going till we receive FDA approval and get to market," said Fionn Lahart, the company's chief executive.
Founded by Mr Lahart and Christoph Hennersperger in 2017, OneProjects is focusing on facilitating the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation (AFib). This is a disease that affects more than 38 million people around the world and which is one of the most frequent causes of strokes and other heart conditions.
A principal treatment for AFib is catheter ablation – the removal or freezing of small portions of heart tissue to block unwanted signals. In up to 50 per cent of cases, however, full ablation of the tissue is unsuccessful, requiring a large percentage of patients to undergo repeat procedures.
OneProjects’s Verafeye technology uses a proprietary catheter-based sensor combined with advanced imaging and machine learning to provide unprecedented live 360-degree, high-resolution imagery of the beating heart, as well as real-time analysis to determine where tissue has been fully ablated. This allows for better success rates and should ultimately also lead to reduced costs to the healthcare system.
The company’s technology is based on ultrasound but is considerably more technically advanced than the type of grayscale baby scan images that people typically associate with it. It essentially provides live images giving consultants the type of detail that hasn’t been available before.
Mr Lahart said while the primary focus is on AFib, there is the potential to expand the use of its imaging solutions for other procedures.
“Afib is by itself a huge market but there are also many other applications for our technology, including for replacing heart valves. This is something that is relatively common as a procedure but it is also something that is to a large degree dependent on intuition. Our imaging technology gives doctors the ability to be more accurate,” he said.
Imec.xpand, a Belgian early-stage and growth fund, led the Series A extension with participation from the European Innovation Council (EIC) and existing investors, including LSP and Atlantic Bridge Ventures also participating. The grants recently awarded to the company meanwhile came from the Government's Disruptive Technolgies Fund and the EIC Accelerator.
"A wide range of therapeutic modalities are available today for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, with more to come. We made the investment in OneProjects as its superior Verafeye imaging technology will serve all of these treatment options, a win for both the patient and the hospital," said Frank Bulens, partner at Imec.xpand.
“Accurate real-time imaging is also a prerequisite to allow part of this intervention to eventually become automated, which will be the next level of innovation,” he added.