(Vienna, 27 June 2019) Angel Valve Vienna (AVVie), a MedUni Vienna spin-off, has won the S&B Award from the Rudolf Sallinger Fund for "Mitral Butterfly", a device implanted in a minimally invasive procedure to correct leaky mitral valves. The concept is based on a patent developed at MedUni Vienna’s Department of Surgery.
Werner Mohl from the Department of Surgery of the Medical University of Vienna (and who worked as a surgeon until 2015) has been working intensively for several years now on minimally invasive solutions for correcting specific heart valve defects. With the Angel Valve concept, he and his team have successfully developed a new type of implant (Mitral Butterfly), which has already undergone the first successful animal experiments conducted in the USA. Its first clinical use is planned for 2021/2022.
Common heart valve disease
The mitral valve is one of four valves in the heart: and it is not always leak-tight. A mitral valve prolapse, a particular form of serious valve malfunction is by far the commonest heart valve disease in the world. It affects up to a million people in Germany. Normally, it requires a serious open-heart operation, which is simply not an option for many patients, because of their age or their comorbidities. The minimally invasive catheter-based procedure is therefore a promising option for the future. Minimally invasive surgery and the use of valves that can be gently implanted into patients is a new concept and helps patients to recover quickly. Up until now, there hasn't been a reliable technique for catheter-based valve repair for mitral valve prolapse.
"Mitral Butterfly" spreads its wings
AVVie has called its new implant the "Mitral Butterfly" because of the wings that the stent spreads out in the valve. This technique is used if a tendinous chord of the mitral valve tears away and a section of the valve is no longer able to withstand the pressure in the heart cavity, prolapses into the atrium and allows blood to flow back into the lung unchecked.
Normally this problem is repaired with the heart stopped, during heart surgery. "Our innovative concept is now aimed at an implant that can be inserted into the heart via a catheter," explains Werner Mohl. "This patented implant and the special method of insertion has the advantage over other alternative methods that the entire section of the valve that is struggling can be returned to its correct position, thereby making the valve tight again." Another important advantage is the hook that holds the artificial tendinous chords, rendering any additional fixation to the heart muscle unnecessary.Patent application filed by MedUni ViennaImplementation of the "AngelValve concept" started in 2015 as part of the PRIZE programme (AWS) at MedUni Vienna under the lead of Werner Mohl. Following a pre-seed phase (AWS funding) from 2015 to 2018, AVVie GmbH was founded in October 2018. Investors have already been found for the concept and it has won several prizes and funding grants. “Nothing should stand in the way of rapid further development," says Werner Mohl, who is delighted to have won the award, which brings him a step closer to his goal of being able to offer patients a safer, simpler and time-saving implant in the future. The winning team represented by Werner Mohl, Martin Bernroitner, Zuza Malecka and Johanna Ticar are justifiably delighted to have won the S&B prize money.