A developer of next generation biodegradable stents that could improve the life expectancy of people with severe cardiovascular disease is looking to scale-up and commercialise its products.

Leeds-based Arterius was established by Dr Kadem Al-Lamee and Alistair Taylor to research and develop innovative medical devices for the £6.3bn coronary stent market.

Coronary artery disease is caused by blockages in the arteries, which limit blood flow and oxygen supply, leading to chest pain, heart attack or death.

Current treatment relies on permanent metal stents that are inserted through a balloon catheter into the blocked artery to open the blockage. However, these metal stents can lead to complications such as blood clots and long-term chronic inflammation.

The Arterius team have developed and trademarked ArterioSorb, a family of coronary biodegradable stents that can be absorbed by the body once they have performed their function.

Following the successful completion of pre-clinical trials, the company is planning to conduct First-in-Man (FIM) trials of ArterioSorb in 2020 and will be looking for a commercial partner to take the products to market.

Arterius employs nine people at its headquarters in Lawnswood Business Park, Leeds. Last year, it secured two grants from Innovate UK to complete FIM trials of ArterioSorb and to develop next generation biodegradable peripheral stents.

Yorkshire law firm Lupton Fawcett has helped Arterius to protect its intellectual property, supporting the business through a series of collaborative research agreements and a growth capital investment from Deepbridge Capital, an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Fund.

Arterius is backed by a consortium of experts of UK academia including the Industrial Research Centre in Polymer Engineering at Bradford University, Southampton University, and Bristol University.

Dr Kadem Al-Lamee, chief executive of Arterius, has 40 years’ experience in developing medical devices. He said: “Development funding and collaborations with the UK universities are enabling us to bring forward our ground-breaking research in the cardiovascular field for trial with a view to finding the right commercial partner. The opportunities are significant – we could help millions of patients across the world.

“We have grown significantly since we received grant funding from Innovate UK and others. This provides assurance to other potential investors.

“We can take products to clinical trial but when it comes to commercialisation we have to think carefully about licensing and finding the right partner. Our aim is to have CE-marked coronary products in the market by 2023.”

Lupton Fawcett has a specialist team of lawyers with considerable experience in guiding start-up businesses as they look to scale up their operations.

Jonathan Oxley, managing partner at Lupton Fawcett, said: “Start-up businesses are often based around innovative technology or have a new disrupting concept such as the biodegradable stents developed by Arterius.

“Such companies can experience rapid growth as they commercialise their innovation and this comes with its own set of challenges.

“In the case of Arterius, we have ensured their IP is fully owned and protected and have negotiated agreements around funding for the business throughout its lifetime. We look forward to offering further support as the company realises the full potential of the products it has developed.”

Medical technology has been identified as one of the key growth drivers for the Leeds City Region economy, with a range of businesses working to grow global markets and exports, while reducing healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes.

Pioneering stent developer to scale up research

PHOTO: Dr Kadem Al-Lamee, Arterius and Jonathan Oxley, Lupton Fawcett

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