Persistently Seeking Stroke Solutions
This article was originally published in Start Up
Even as ischemic stroke researchers debate what went wrong following a string of high-profile, expensive clinical trial failures, they're optimistic that advances in understanding of the disease and application of lessons learned from past mistakes will yield more effective therapies.
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If the 1990s was the decade of the heart, this was supposed to be the decade of the brain. But the tremendous market for stroke device companies has never quite materialized in part because stroke treatment is so elusive. That elusive nature of therapy has led also to unclear technology solutions, complex regulatory paths, and challenging adoption models. CoAxia is staking its claim with a development and clinical trials strategy that departs from those of other stroke start-ups, aiming to prove clinical efficacy in its complex trials.
The field of stroke moves slowly; 17 years elapsed between the introduction of the thrombolytic drug tPA, the first FDA-approved intervention for acute ischemic stroke, and the clot retrieving device from Concentric Medical. The goal of these rdr rmost therapies is to quickly and safely achieve revascularization of the source of the blockage that caused the stroke. The problem has been, and continues to be, the very narrow therapeutic window of opportunity for stroke victims; that is the short time during which recovery is possible. Concentric Medical and Penumbra have both succeeded in widening the treatment window, from the three hour cut-off for tPA to eight hours. Others will follow. According to US Markets for Stroke Management Products, a report just issued by the FDC-Windhover division of Elsevier, this market will rapidly over the next few years because clinicians trained on first-generation devices are now prepared for improved neurointerventional technologies. The report estimates that cerebral revascularization and reperfusion device sales will grow at a compound annual rate of 33.4% through the year 2012.
Concentric overcame major technology and regulatory challenges to be first to market in a large, complex device space, treating acute ischemic stroke, which has befuddled big companies and start-ups.