Howard Levin and Mark Gelfand, the principals of Coridea, return to the podcast to detail the trials and tribulations of Ardian. Ardian is one of the bigger #medtech #startup stories over the past two decades. In 2011, Medtronic agreed to pay $800 million upfront for this company that pushed the once crazy idea of ablating renal nerves to lower hypertension. Ardian had raised $70 million from a syndicate of blue chip investors after being forged in the Foundry incubator. VCs proudly shared that the earnouts for Ardian would push that price well over $1 billion. This was a HUGE win for Medtech when it desperately needed it.
Three years later came the fall. A day before JP Morgan’s Healthcare Meeting in 2014, Medtronic announced early disappointing of SYMPLICITY HTN-3, a third and larger trial of Ardian’s renal denervation. Medtronic revised the trial, running Spryal HTN on patients who didn’t take any medication for their hypertension – a contrast from the Symplicity trial where patients were taking an average of five medications. In these revised trials, renal denervation is performing much better.
The new results exonerated Ardian’s early backers – and perhaps Gelfand and Levin, specifically. This was the team, after all, that combed through medical libraries for clues about hacking the human body to beat back hypertension. The research turned up the discovery that surgeons once would treat extremely unresponsive hypertension by severing nerves near the kidney.
The procedure worked, but it was dangerous. Levin and Gelfand saw ablating tissue as a safer path. And, after a lot of trudging up and down the Valley, finally found a willing partner in the team at The Foundry. Early clinical success led to a renal denervation gold rush. Nearly every VC and Strategic investor had a bet in this space.
The 2014 debacle convinced many to close their programs and companies, but now Renal Denervation is back in favor.
How did Howard Levin and Mark Gelfand enjoy the roller coaster ride?
In this podcast, we’ll talk about Ardian, TAVR, the challenges facing Medtech VCs and the poor reception many surgeons give new interventional technologies.
In 2003, with Mark Gelfand, Dr. Levin co-founded Coridea, an idea generator that translates ideas into novel therapeutic solutions for clinical practice. His inventions and co-inventions have successfully launched or their patents helped launch companies including Ardian (Medtronic), CHF Solutions (Gambro), Respicardia (formerly, Cardiac Concepts), eValve (Abbott) and RenalGuard (PLC Medical), Cibiem and Soffio Medical. He has held a number of positions in these companies including President, Chief Scientific Officer, Chief Medical Officer and VP of R&D.
Chief Technical Officer
Mr. Gelfand has more than 25 years of experience developing medical devices in academic, startup and corporate environments. His expertise is in integrative physiology, systems engineering and intellectual property. With Dr. Levin, he co-founded Axon Therapies, Soffio Medical, Cibiem, CHF Solutions, Ardian and Respicardia and served as the chief technology officer to those ventures.
Meet Our Host
A follower and fan of medtech for nearly two decades, Tom Salemi is the former bureau chief, venture capital, at Elsevier Business Intelligence, where he oversaw coverage of venture investments in medtech.