Mending the Heart: Richmond’s Neovasc Addresses Cardiovascular Problems

Neovasc is a B.C. company working on technology to increase patient care and enhance quality of life. The company, located in Richmond, creates and markets products that address cardiovascular problems.

One of these problems is mitral regurgitation. The mitral valve, situated between the left chambers in the heart, ensures that blood in the heart flows in the correct direction, from the left atrium to the left ventricle. When this valve fails, mitral regurgitation can occur where blood flows the wrong way, back into the left atrium, and into the lungs.

This common valve problem can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, irregular heartbeats, and, in extreme cases, death. Unfortunately, current surgical treatments for the ailment are only suitable for a fraction of the patients suffering from its effects.

Neovasc’s product, Tiara, is a novel device designed to treat mitral regurgitation and its numerous accompanying challenges. The device, which is currently in early feasibility testing stages, goes into the heart and replaces the valve without having any negative effects on the surrounding tissue.

“What we are looking to do is to provide a new treatment therapy for patients who are suffering from mitral regurgitation, and who don’t currently have a treatment option,” says Neovasc’s CFO Christopher Clark.

Neovasc also produces the Reducer, which is a treatment for another ailment that impacts millions across the world: refractory angina. Refractory angina can be debilitating, the result of inadequate blood flow to the heart muscle. The severe pain patients experience can be difficult to relieve. Without many options for remedy, quality of life for patients with refractory angina is severely impacted. The Reducer technology, which is currently available in the E.U., involves a procedure akin to the implantation of a coronary stent.

“We’ve always tried to put the patient first in everything that we do. We’ve identified the needs that were unmet, and we’re trying to solve them with innovative products,” says Clark.

“If patients have successful treatment, they typically can resume a more normal life, and generally have a better quality of life.”