Indiana Seed Fund Invests in FlowCo

Indiana’s only life sciences seed-stage fund has invested $250,000 in FlowCo, a local company that’s developing a device that helps size and deliver stents more accurately. The company will use the money to create a human-use prototype for clinical trials scheduled to take place by next summer.

The device, developed by a biomedical engineer from Indianapolis, IN, is called LumenRECON. It’s a catheter-based device that uses electricity to size the cross-section of a blood vessel. Four very small electrical wires are mounted on the exterior of any standard catheter and inserted into the blood vessel. Electrical currents are sent to the electrodes which give the cardiologist a digital output of the measurement for the blood vessel’s cross-sectional area digitally in real-time.

More than 1.5 million Americans undergo coronary stent procedures each year. But currently, the routine catheter used to deploy the stent does not have a precise method for determining exact placement or a definitive measurement of the circumference of the artery for stent sizing. Error in placement or sizing can lead to poor outcomes, including higher rates of restenosis and increased risk of thrombosis.

“This device provides doctors with a lumen map — an immediate, digital reading — to help them be more precise in the placement and sizing of stents,” said Dr. Ghassan Kassab, the inventor of LumenRECON and founder and president of FlowCo. “This should result in shorter, and safer procedures.”

The LumenRECON device can also be used to determine the exact size to which a balloon should be inflated during stent insertion into the blood vessel: The LumenRECON, a balloon, and a collapsed stent are advanced toward the site and the balloon is then inflated to the correct size by using the digital measurement from the previous LumenRECON electrode readings. The stent stays in place, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.

The $250,000 investment came from BioCrossroads’ $6 million Indiana Seed Fund I. BioCrossroads is a public-private initiative formed to grow Indiana’s life sciences sector. The Seed Fund, launched in June 2005, provides working capital in the range of $50,000-$500,000 to promising Indiana life sciences companies at the preliminary stages of operation.

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