The Australian Government is helping to fund a revolutionary artificial heart technology that has the potential to save the lives of millions of people worldwide who cannot access heart transplants.
Through the Government’s Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF), venture capital firm OneVentures will invest in BiVACOR, an Australian company that is developing a rotary Total Artificial Heart (TAH) device that could provide a life-saving solution for individuals requiring a new heart.
The BiVACOR TAH is designed to be a long-term device that can replace the total function of the patient’s native heart. The small, compact device uses proven rotary blood-pump technology to provide the required cardiac output.
Through the BTF the Government and private investors will provide over $2.6 million to OneVentures for investment in development of the external TAH controller in Australia.
Heart failure is a devastating disease that affects more than 300,000 Australians, and 11 million people in the US and Europe, with an incidence of 1.1 million new cases per year. Furthermore, current growth rates predict a 25% increase in the incidence of HF by 2030.
Implantation of a TAH is a treatment option for patients with end-stage heart failure who need support while on a heart transplant waiting list or who do not qualify for a transplant. Removal of the native ventricles allows the device to completely replace the function of the native heart.
BiVACOR CEO Daniel Timms began developing the artificial heart as a PhD candidate at the Queensland University of Technology. In 2008, BiVACOR completed prototype development and in 2013 it secured seed funding from US investors. BiVACOR’s headquarters is located in Houston,Texas. It also has an international office in Brisbane, Queensland.
The BTF consists of at least equal parts Commonwealth and industry funding. It is managed by private sector fund managers who direct investment to commercialise promising Australian biomedical research.
In addition to the funding for BiVACOR, a number of other investments have recently been made through the BTF:
- $1.5 million invested by BioScience Managers in Avita Medical Ltd for improved skin regeneration through a unique process using the patient’s own skin;
- $3.2 million invested by Brandon Capital Partners in Aravax Pty Ltd for a novel form of peptide immunotherapy to treat peanut allergy; and
- $1 million invested by Brandon Capital Partners in GI Therapies Pty Ltd to develop a device to treat a range of gastrointestinal motility disorders.