Advanced diagnostics startup Coremap Inc., which is developing a technology capable of identifying the drivers of atrial fibrillation (AF), scooped up $10.5 million in a series A financing led by Qure Ventures. The funds will be used to accelerate product development and future regulatory submissions.
Participants in the round included existing investors Ronny Ginor, of Fifth Focus/HRMG Investments and Orbimed Venture Partners, as well as new strategic, corporate and financial partners. Founded in 2016, the Burlington, Vt.-based company has raised nearly $12 million to date.
In conjunction with the round, Allen Kramer, managing partner of Qure Ventures, and Ginor will join Coremap’s board. The company also named Peter Spector, co-founder and inventor of the Coremap technology, as chair of its scientific and clinical advisory board.
“Coremap’s inventions have broad potential for biological sensing, which in turn may unlock patient-specific treatment for millions of people suffering with persistent AF issues,” Ginor said.
Large unmet need
AF affects roughly 33 million people worldwide, but therapeutic options are limited due to the lack of high-resolution mapping for this complex arrhythmia. Treatments include medication to control the heart’s rhythm and rate, blood-thinning medicines and surgery, including ablation therapy. However, of the 2.7 million to 6.1 million people in the U.S. with AF, less than 1% will be treated by ablation therapy because the high-resolution mapping to enable ablation in AF patients doesn’t exist, Sarah Kalil, Coremap’s co-founder, president and CEO told BioWorld.
Coremap’s solution is a four-part invention, derived from 20 years of research by Spector, a practicing clinical electrophysiologist, on the drivers of AF. The technology employs a patented electrode pair design in a high-density array configuration combined with algorithm-driven mapping and visualization software.
The electrodes are of a microscale, and “the fact that you use this stacked pair allows you to subtract two signals and identify the electrical activity ... on tissue” at a very small scale, Kalil said. The hi-res intel enables electrophysiologists to make more informed treatment decisions that can improve patient outcomes.
“Today, other technologies use what is called local activation, and that is simply watching when a signal passes by an electrode,” she continued. “We’re looking at tissue properties themselves. And when you do that, you can move to sequential mapping. You’re not relying on one beat and when the electrical activity passes by a series of much larger electrodes.”
The product will comprise a single-use catheter that senses the activity inside the heart plus a workstation for the software algorithms.
The company has already won some recognition for its work. It recently was awarded a phase I small business innovation research grant from the National Science Foundation to support the development of technology aimed at expanding treatment opportunities for patients with AF.
To date, Coremap has performed about two dozen animal studies using the technology and is making preparations for human studies, Kalil said. “We expect to submit to the U.S. FDA within two years,” she added.
While initially focused on AF, Coremap believes its technology has broader applicability within and beyond cardiology. “While [AF] is our target, we will be a better mapping technology than any mapping out there, so it could be applied to other arrhythmias as well,” Kalil said.
“We’ve got an amazing invention, we now have great funding partners, and we’re ready to execute on the development plan to translate the invention into the clinic,” she said.
Other companies are leveraging algorithms and artificial intelligence to address heart conditions. Last month, Eko Devices Inc. announced a collaboration with British pharma giant Astrazeneca plc to accelerate development of digital tools to improve early detection of cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure. The Oakland, Calif.-based startup won a breakthrough device designation from the FDA in December 2019 for its AI-powered electrocardiogram algorithm, which can be used to screen patients for heart failure during routine physical exams.
Earlier this summer, Paris-based Inheart SAS raised $4.2 million to develop a cardiac arrhythmia treatment using medical imaging, AI and digital stimulation. And just this month, Biofourmis Inc. snagged $100 million in series C funds to fuel global expansion of its AI-powered health analytics platform and digital therapeutics pipeline. One of the company’s core products is a 90-day program for heart failure patients that offers medication management, symptom monitoring and caregiver communication. The company’s therapeutics pipeline is currently focused on cardiovascular disease, with plans for monotherapies that use software to treat and manage conditions as well as combination therapies combining digital therapies with pharmaceuticals.