Elle Sander, Lifelet

One Valve for Life

What problem are you solving and what is innovative about your approach?

A patient requiring a heart valve replacement today has two options: a mechanical valve or a valve created from animal tissue. A mechanical valve is invasive, loud, and requires blood thinners for life. Animal tissue valves still have procedural risks and complications of stroke, bleeding, the need for a pacemaker, and they degrade over time. Current technologies are suboptimal, leading to heart valve failure over time and an increased requirement for reoperations.

Lifelet are delivering a completely new paradigm in valve manufacturing processes, transforming heart valve production and functionality. We have developed a novel polymeric heart valve leaflet material to address current clinical limitations so that we can provide an optimal valve solution for patients and interventional cardiologists. We envision a future where patients can have one valve for life, a life free from chronic blood thinners or re-interventions.

How is this idea commercially attractive?

The global transcatheter heart valve replacement market is poised to be €10B in 2024, with a CAGR of 13.8%. The transcatheter heart valve technologies will surpass surgical techniques and address a larger and younger population of patients in the future. There is a clinical and market need to develop a more sustainable heart valve with a simplified manufacturing process, and ultimately superior clinical outcomes with respect to durability.

Lifelet Medical will partner with the most innovative medical device companies producing heart valves for the global market and together we will streamline heart valve manufacturing based on the unique Lifelet polymer so that is scalable, time efficient, and cost effective. We will create a new generation of transcatheter heart valve technologies, aiming to reach clinical milestones and leverage current reimbursement codes to build our revenue model. Our lean business model will create an innovative heart valve technology platform that is environmentally friendly, cost-effective and will result in superior patient outcomes.

What do you hope to achieve by participating in Big Ideas?

We are tremendously grateful for the support of NUI Galway and Enterprise Ireland to date, and excited to announce we have made significant progress with our technology development. We want to introduce our technology, update on what we have achieved, and we are now seeking to develop partnerships with the wider commercial community. We hope to engage in meaningful discussions with strategic partners and investors to progress our technology development create awareness and identify the right partners to bring our solution to the patients who need it most.