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Finnish medical devices to tackle heart, lung conditions

HVR Cardio’s solution for mitral valve repair has been described as elegant compared to existing surgical options, which are not suitable for many of the millions of people afflicted by mitral regurgitation.


HVR Cardio has secured almost 11 million euros for its catheter-based solution for mitral regurgitation. NE Device SW, in turn, is set to pilot its patient observation tool in Pakistan.

HVR Cardio, a Helsinki-based cardiovascular device company, in January revealed it has secured 10.7 million euros in funding in what is one of the largest funding rounds ever by a medical technology company in Finland.

The round was led by the life sciences arm of Innovestor and Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi).

The funding will enable the startup to expand its team and proceed to human clinical trials with its catheter-based solution for mitral regurgitation, CathHELIX. The solution makes it possible for structural heart physicians to repair the fault and reduce regurgitation – the backflow of blood through the mitral valve – without the need to perform open-heart surgery or tether the leaflets of native heart valves.

Mitral regurgitation is a common valvular heart disease that impacts around 15 million people in Europe and the US.

Pekka Simula, a partner at Innovestor Life Science, said he expects the technology to reach clinical translation soon and offer new hope to the large group of patients for whom existing surgical options are unsuitable.

“We are truly excited about the elegant and minimally invasive CathHELIX,” he stated.

The solution has already been designated as a breakthrough device by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has not yet been approved or cleared for use in patients in any geography.

Oulu-based medical device maker to enter Pakistan

NE Device SW, an Oulu-based health technology firm, has signed an agreement to bring its flagship device, Vitacam, to Pakistan. The contactless measurement device will be deployed and piloted in e-clinics operated by Sehat Kahani, the leading provider of digital health services in Pakistan.

"Together with Sehat Kahani, our vision is that cloud computing and smartphones can reduce inequalities in healthcare provision,” said Moyeen Ahmad, CEO of NE Device SW. (far right)

Vitacam is a CE-marked, software-based medical device utilising computer vision to measure vital signs in patients, thus supporting nurses by automating the routine task of patient observation.

In Pakistan, the solution should prove particularly helpful due to the high prevalence (13.8%) of emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which has been linked to widespread smoking and exposure to the burning of biomass fuel. It offers patients an opportunity to have their heart and respiratory rates – which can be an indicator of the severity of either condition – through video recorded with a smartphone.

It therefore promises to improve patient outcomes by enabling timely and accurate measurements, and early, effective and appropriate interventions.

Moyeen Ahmad, CEO of NE Device SW, in January said he is delighted that the solution will be used to the benefit of underprivileged remote communities. “Together with Sehat Kahani, our vision is that cloud computing and smartphones can reduce inequalities in healthcare provision,” he commented.

NE Device SW has developed a smartphone-based solution that promotes the detection of clinical deterioration in patients.

Jéshoots / Pexels

NE Device SW believes Vitacam can be critical for patients who are at risk of clinical deterioration because the early changes indicative of such deterioration – be it elevated heart rate, respiratory rate or decreased oxygen saturation in the blood – tend to go unnoticed until the patient’s condition has declined visibly.

Finnish-Danish partnership to spur innovation

Business Finland and Denmark’s Nordic Health Lab announced last year they have struck a partnership designed to spur healthcare innovation across the Nordics.

The partnership is expected to bring about new healthcare solutions, increase activities such as events and webinars, and promote knowledge sharing in a way that accelerates the growth of startups committed to elevating the level of healthcare in the region. For Finnish companies with the right kind of solutions, the partnership also presents an opportunity to join the development track of Nordic Health Lab and gain a foothold in Denmark.

Jesper Juel-Helwig, CEO of Nordic Health Lab, said the Danish non-profit is ready to share its specialised knowledge about the needs of its partner hospitals and municipalities in order to create a “sustainable match” between companies with solutions that fit the exact needs of a healthcare system.

“We believe that strong partnerships with focus on sustainability are crucial to solving some of the big challenges in healthcare systems across the Nordics,” he stated back in November.

"Finland and Denmark are among the world leading countries in innovation and in applying new technologies to everyday use,” said Terhi Rasmussen from Business Finland.

Business Finland

The Danish and Finnish healthcare systems are faced with similar challenges, including the needs of an ageing population. Both countries, though, are also home to several companies of all sizes with innovative solutions to solve them.

“We believe that by bringing together the bright Nordic minds in close collaboration, attending to current and future challenges in healthcare, valuable solutions will arise,” said Terhi Rasmussen, global opportunity leader for health and wellbeing at Business Finland.

Statistics from 2021 indicate that Finnish health technology exports crept up by 3.6 per cent year-on-year to an all-time high of 2.52 billion euros, buoyed by soaring demand for laboratory diagnostics. Saara Hassinen, CEO of Healthtech Finlandstated last spring that the sector has generated a 15 billion-euro trade surplus in the past two decades, thereby contributing to job growth and investment activities.

Halton acquires presence in Sweden

Finland’s Halton in January reported that it has taken over CRC Medical, a Swedish company providing tailored ventilation solutions for clean rooms and operating theatres in Scandinavia.

The Finnish company said the acquisition will strengthen its presence in Sweden. “This will enable us to provide our customers with a complete range of high-quality solutions for both healthcare and clean-room environments,” commented Anu Saxén, head of SBA Halton.

Having installed more than 800 ventilation systems in hospitals in the region, the companies together have expertise in a wide range of solutions for spaces that require exceptional levels of cleanliness.

By: Aleksi Teivainen