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Vulnerable Plaque: Medical Device's New Biological Frontier

Executive Summary

As interest in vulnerable plaque heats up, medical device companies hope to capitalize on their earl y lead. But as vulnerable plaque shifts therapies from structural to biological, that lead many not last long. The second of a two-part series.

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On The Hunt For Vulnerable Plaque InfraReDx Improves Stenting Safety

Whatever happened to vulnerable plaque? More than a decade ago, vulnerable plaque was a hot topic that was hoped would explain many incidents of sudden cardiac death in patients without other symptoms of coronary artery disease. While many experts believe the theory underlying this concept remains sound, proving its validity and then developing both diagnostic tools to identify what have been called "vulnerable patients" and then therapeutic devices to treat them has turned out to be a difficult and lengthy challenge that remains unsolved. InfraReDx Inc. remains active in this area, and according to CEO and founder James Muller, MD, is closing in on a solution. InfraReDx recently raised $21 million in its Series D financing round.

Prescient Medical's Dual Approach to Vulnerable Plaque

Vulnerable plaque caught investors' and entrepreneurs' attention several years ago as the mysterious cause of more than half of all cases of sudden cardiac death, most of which occurs in people with no history of heart disease. Several companies were launched and much money invested with little to show for it. One major problem: vulnerable plaque requires new tools both to diagnose and treat the condition, which proved to be bigger hurdles than most start-ups can overcome. Prescient was launched by an experienced device management team and is applying Raman spectroscopy, to coronary disease as the basis of its diagnostic tool, and is using a shield-not a stent-for its therapeutic device.

Prescient Medical's Dual Approach to Vulnerable Plaque

Vulnerable plaque caught investors' and entrepreneurs' attention several years ago as the mysterious cause of more than half of all cases of sudden cardiac death, most of which occurs in people with no history of heart disease. Several companies were launched and much money invested with little to show for it. One major problem: vulnerable plaque requires new tools both to diagnose and treat the condition, which proved to be bigger hurdles than most start-ups can overcome. Prescient was launched by an experienced device management team and is applying Raman spectroscopy, to coronary disease as the basis of its diagnostic tool, and is using a shield-not a stent-for its therapeutic device.

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