PI: Antonio D’Amore

Title: A Biomimetic Pulmonary Valve that Decreases Re-operations in Pediatric Patients with Congenital Heart Disease

Description: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is caused by defects in the heart structure that occur at birth and affect blood flow through the heart and the rest of the body. CHD affects around 10 out of 1,000 live-born children, 25% of which will need an intervention or surgery within their first year of life. Circa 1 million children and 1.4 million adults live with CHD in the US, and over 182,000 heart valve replacements are performed every year. Currently, available heart valve prostheses do not perform as native cardiac tissue and have several limitations related to their durability and ability to support tissue regeneration. In addition, they have been associated with complications such as clots, increased risk of thrombosis and thromboembolism, calcification, and infection. Replacement of bioprosthetic valves often requires complex and high-risk operations and poses an economic burden of $1.7B in the US per year to the healthcare system.

Neoolife aims to overcome these major drawbacks in CHD therapy by developing tissue engineered heart valves (TEHVs) that are fabricated using scaffolds that mimic human tissue. Through endogenous tissue growth, Neoolife’s biomimetic pulmonary heart valves are extensively augmented or eventually replaced, leaving autologous and functional leaflets that grow with the CHD pediatric patient that are durable and non-thrombogenic. These biomimetic valves do not require life-long blood thinner treatments and are resistant to calcification and infection. In this STTR Phase I project, Neoolife will modify its proprietary Double Component Deposition (DCD) technology to obtain a more homogeneous biomimetic scaffold deposition. Biomimetic pulmonary heart valve prototypes (n=10) will be fabricated using a new multiple stage processing setup. The prototypes will be tested in vitro for their mechanical and functional properties and assessed in vivo (n=5, 180 days) to evaluate polymer degradation, cellularization, biomechanics, and valve function.

In Phase II, further in vitro and in vivo studies will be performed to provide sufficient technical information to demonstrate that Neoolife developed pulmonary heart valve qualifies for obtaining a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) designation for the treatment of pediatric CHD.

Source: Small Business Technology Transfer Program

Term: 13 months

Amount: $265,000