AI start-up Ablacon raises $21.5m to tackle heart disease
May 8, 2019
A company using artificial intelligence to create a mapping systems for the human heart to guide the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AFib) has closed a $21.5m series A funding round. Ajax Health led the financing for Colorado start-up Ablacon.
Ablacon's algorithm uses AI to analyse and visualise the flow of action potentials, or electrographic flow, within the heart to identify sources and drivers of AFib, the most common cardiac arrhythmia worldwide. The map of the electrographic flow can help guide physicians in targeted catheter ablation therapy.
The company will use the funding to advance its technology pipeline and finance clinical trials.
"The Ablacon system is a very promising innovation in AFib mapping," said Vivek Reddy, professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. "The early clinical experience indicates tremendous promise of this technology to improve our ability to treat this challenging disease."
Daniel Cremers, professor and chair for computer vision and pattern recognition at the Technical University of Munich, added: "The idea to leverage techniques and algorithms from computer vision to analyse electric signals in the heart is ingenious. Ablacon combines concepts from both the medical world and machine intelligence in a way that I think is very promising."
As part of the investment, Ajax Health CEO Duke Rohlen will join Ablacon as chairman and CEO. Rohlen's track record of successful medical technology exits includes Epix Therapeutics, Spirox, CV Ingenuity and FoxHollow Technologies.
"Since our first meeting with Ablacon, we have been impressed with the calibre of the team and the promise of the technology to improve patient care in AFib," said Rohlen. “I'm thrilled to join the team to advance this exciting project.”
Ablacon's founder and former CEO Peter Ruppersberg will remain with the company as president and chief scientific officer.
"We look forward to working with Duke and his team of experienced healthcare executives to bring this technology to market," said Ruppersberg.
Ablacon's technology obtained a CE Mark in 2018.
Ajax Health accelerates medical innovation by identifying opportunities and then taking an operating role in building medical companies. Ajax is led by industry veteran Rohlen and his ecosystem of industry and operational experts. The team has a proven track record of helping companies of all sizes, stages and structures achieve value-creation goals.