Image of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, via Aortica Corporation


Nov.27, 2014 | By Kira

Aortica Corporation, a privately held startup based in Kirkland, WA, is using 3D technology to give new hope to patients who suffer from a common yet deadly form of aneurysm. The company has raised $7 million USD during its Series A funding round, which will be used to complete an FDA study. If approved, their research and could save thousands of lives every year.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) Disease affects up to 180,000 Americans annually, and is characterized by the formation of a large bulge in the aorta (the largest artery in the human body). The aneurysm is not symptomatic and often grows undetected over time. However, once it bursts, it can lead to significant blood loss and death. According to Aortica, the mortality rate for ruptured aneurysms is a shocking 85%,
Since the 1990s, a technique known as EVAR (Edovascular Aortic Repair) has been the gold standard for controlling aneurysms. The non-invasive procedure involves inserting a catheter into the aorta, through which an endograft is delivered and placed. This method channels blood away from the aneurism, and has been attributed with faster recovery times and lower mortality rates.

However, using EVAR is not always an option. Approximately 30-40% of patients diagnosed with AAA have anatomical abnormalities that do not allow for conventional non-invasive surgery, and must undergo a more dangerous open surgery instead.

This is what Aortica hopes to change with their patient-specific approach to treating aneurysms. Using proprietary software and 3D printing technology, standard endografts can be customized to fit each patient’s unique anatomy. This will allow the endograft to be anchored properly within each patient.

Specifically, Aortica’s customized technology is designed to benefit AAA patients and physicians in three key areas. Firstly, it can be used to treat short aortic necks and highly angulated necks. Secondly, their technology can improve the security of the graft, minimizing both endoleaks and graft migration, and thirdly, it will enable physicians to protect the major branch arteries. These revolutionary solutions could lead to more effective and life-saving treatments in the near future.

Aortica’s ‘patient-specific technology’ will rely on 3D printing. Image via: Aortica Corporation

Although Aortica’s technology is not currently available for sale, the $7 million raised during their initial round of funding will be used to complete its IDE (Investigational Device Exemption) study.

In addition to the funding, Aortica also announced the appointment of Tom Douthitt as its new CEO and president, and Dr. Ben Starnes as the Chief Medical Officer. Douthitt is a medical device industry veteran, with 28 years of experience, and Dr. Starnes is the Chief of Vasucal and Endovascular surgery at the University of Washington and Harborview Meidcal Center. Both are well qualified to lead this research, and are enthusiastic about the possibilities.

“The oversubscription of our Series-A financing is a clear reflection of the enthusiasm around the potential of the technology developed by Dr. Starnes,” said Douthitt. “I am very pleased to be part of the effort to advance this important technology and bring higher quality treatment options to a significant portion of the AAA population requiring treatment.”


Posted in 3D Printing Technology


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