There is finally hope for patients suffering from irreversible end-stage heart failure. The French company Carmat SA got the green light to sell the first total artificial heart in Europe. Mass production of the device already began in January, and it will be available from the second quarter of 2021, according to Bloomberg.
The first total artificial heart went a long way until getting approved for production. It all started 27 years ago with the pitch of Alain Carpentier, a French cardiac surgeon, to an aerospace company owned by the industrialist Jean-Luc Lagardere. Carpentier met Lagardere in 1993 and proposed the development of an artificial heart. Lagardere agreed and offered Carpentier several labs and engineers from his company Matra, which later became part of Airbus SE.
After the first stages of development, Carmat worked for 10 years to get the CE mark, a period considered a record “given the complexity of such device”, according to Stephane Piat, Carmat Chief Executive Officer.
He also said, in an interview for BFM Business television, that “we’ll have to work with doctors and medical centers now to offer our therapy and we’ll have to look for patients. The production phase will be a delicate one.”
According to Portzamparc analyst Mohamed Kaabouni, Carmat’s artificial heart has the potential of becoming a blockbuster, with estimated annual sales of 700 million Euros by 2030.
“Everyone was waiting for it, and it’s here now. […] The CE mark is crucial for patients and the French company probably got approval for a blockbuster, given how large the medical need is and how rare and ineffective other solutions are”, said Kaabouni.
Bloomberg reported that immediately after the announcement, on December 24th, Carmat SA stocks climbed to a maximum of 50% in Paris. In 2020, Carmat SA had a market value of around 407 million Euros.
Photo sources: Bloomberg.com, BioWorld.com, Time.com, Researchgate.net