The Medical Technology Blog

Reva raises A$77.5 million as investors take a bet on the next big thing in stent technology – bioreabsorbable drug-eluting stents

Welcome back to the Medical Technology Blog. This is the last post of the year as I finish today for the Christmas holidays, please read on…

Reva Medical, a start-up company focused on the development and eventual commercialisation of its bioreabsorbable stent products, has successfully raised A$77.5 million (net) from an initial public offering (IPO) through an issue of CHESS depositary interests (CDIs) on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Based in San Diego, CA, the company has received approximately US$100 million in funding to date and attracted the attention of both Boston Scientific and Medtronic, both of which have previously made sizeable investments in the company. Boston Scientific’s participation included an option to acquire Reva at a later date. However, as a result of the share issue, these merger plans have now been terminated – at least for the time being – with Boston Scientific holding onto an option to distribute Reva’s products should they reach the market. Medtronic is also maintaining its support and has invested a further A$10.5 million in the Reva share placement. Reva plans to use A$38.9 million of the proceeds to support development work, with A$31.4 million invested in ReZolve and A$7.5 million other programmes. A further A$10.3 million will be spent on funding the pilot and pivotal CE mark trials, A$24.2 million on working capital and the remaining A$4.2 million on manufacturing. Overall, the proceeds are expected to support Reva’s development over the next three years.

Billed as the “next major advance in coronary stent technology”, Reva’s core technology, known as ReZolve, is a non-permanent implant that combines a “slide and lock” stent design with a polymer. In development for over ten years, the device claims a number of significant advantages as it is designed to provide the same benefits as traditional metal stents, with the additional benefit of being dissolved by the body over time after treatment of the artery. The reabsorption of the stent minimises clotting risk and reduces the need for long-term drug therapy. In addition to cardiovascular disease, this technology could also be applied for the treatment of other conditions, including peripheral artery disease and spinal trauma surgery. With regards to the latter, Reva is currently seeking a partner interested in licensing its side-chain crystallisable  polymer for use as a flowable cement.

Reva has held an exclusive licence since 2004 for its polymer material from Rutgers University in New Jersey for use in stents, stent coating and embolics. In July 2010, Reva entered into a new licence agreement with Rutgers which broadened the company’s exclusive rights to the original polymer group and all new polymer compositions developed to cover all vascular applications. The company also intends to use sirolimus, an anti-restenotic drug used in other DESs. A target dose of 80µg of sirolimus is coated onto the outside surface of the ReZolve stent using a polymer solution containing the drug.

Reva is targeting a competitive coronary stent market that was valued at over US$5.3 billion in 2009, with drug-eluting stents (DESs) taking up US$4.4 million of this total. The company finds itself in potential competition with the likes of Johnson & Johnson (Cordis), Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific and Medtronic, which collectively accounted for 95 per cent of all DES sales in 2009.

Primary competition for Reva’s products is expected from both traditional DESs and other bioreabsorbable stents. Whilst a number of companies are working to develop bioreabsorbable or polymer stents, so far only two have reached the clinical trial stage. Abbott Laboratories is developing its Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold (BVS), which is forecasted to reach the European market before Reva’s Resolve stent, and Biotronik, which is developing its second generation Dreams magnesium-based reabsorbable stent. Biotronik began clinical trials of its device in July 2010.

Reva is now in the process of finalising the design of the ReZolve stent, with a 50-patient pilot human, non-randomised trial scheduled to commence in Brazil and Germany during the second quarter of 2011, with patients followed at one, six and 12 month intervals after implant of the device, and annually thereafter, for a period of up to five years. Positive findings could then led to enrolment in a 350-patient trial at centres in the EU, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand, in the first and second quarters of 2012, with a full to securing marketing approval in Europe by the end of 2013. If successful in generating such sales, Reva anticipates using the revenue to fund the US human clinical trials, as well as other development activities. Highlighting the tough regulatory climate for DES technology in the US and the associated costs incurred, Reva’s proposed US trial programme, in contrast to Europe, would involve at least 2,000 patients.

Thank you to Lawrence Miller for that article, Lawrence is Espicom’s medical newsletters team leader, and editor-in-chief of Medical Industry Week

A big thank you to all my readers, Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year to one and all.


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