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Monday, Jul 22, 2024

CathWorks, Medtronic Partner on Heart Technology

CathWorks’ Mike Feher has had his plate full since last May when he was honored by the Business Journal with a CFO of the Year Award in the private sector, for helping his company negotiate a $75 million investment from Medtronic PLC.

“The past year has been a busy one as CathWorks has scaled its global co-promotion with Medtronic as it continues to expand the reach of its novel product, FFRangio, in all three major device geographies,” Feher told the Business Journal.

As part of the 2022 agreement, Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) has the option to buy Irvine-based CathWorks by 2027 at a $585 million valuation, plus other earnout payments.

CathWorks has developed a noninvasive way of diagnosing heart disease. In the standard testing procedure, a catheter is inserted into a heart and drugs are administered to dilate blood vessels to monitor blood flow. Physicians eyeball X-rays to determine if a stent should be inserted.

By contrast, CathWorks’ FFRangio System uses a noninvasive five-minute procedure that doesn’t require drugs. It’s a combination of advanced algorithms, artificial intelligence, machine learning and user interface to provide a 3D image of the heart that is color coded.

Feher, who learned his financial chops by working at two world giants in their fields—Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW) in medical devices and Allied Universal in private security—twice took a chance to jump into a startup with CathWorks in 2019 and again in 2021.

“The biggest thing was seeing and believing in the technology,” Feher said a year ago. “I couldn’t pass up seeing that technology come to life.”

About 19 million people globally, including 1 million in the U.S., die every year because of heart diseases, about 35% of total global mortality, making it by far the world’s biggest killer, according to CathWorks.

CathWorks Chief Executive Ramin Mousavi himself has twice won Business Journal awards: Excellence in Entrepreneurship in 2022 and Innovator of the Year in 2023.

Last June, CathWorks began enrollment in its clinical study, ALL-RISE, which is a prospective randomized controlled trial (RCT) aimed at transforming the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease by evaluating the clinical and economic benefits of the FFRangio System.

The study, the first and largest trial of its kind to be conducted in the U.S., Europe, Japan and the Middle East, is expected to enroll close to 2,000 patients across 60 sites internationally.

It wasn’t all work during the past year. Feher and his wife, Christine, enjoyed getting their 9- and 7-year-olds involved in a variety of sports. The family also took a surf trip to Costa Rica during the holidays where Feher said they found “great waves.”

“The trip to Costa Rica with the family was amazing!” Feher said. “It was one of the best times of my life getting the kids in the water and they shredded.”

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