Rhythmia, with Harvard and MIT Roots, Ready to Prove Heart-Mapping System Works

4/1/10

Here’s where the rubber hits the road for Leon Amariglio, Doron Harlev, and the startup they co-founded, Rhythmia Medical. After spending years to create an advanced system for mapping hearts during cardiac procedures, Rhythmia plans to test its technology in humans for the first time this year, Amariglio tells Xconomy.

The Burlington, MA-based company’s investors will soon get to see whether the $12 million they’ve pumped into Rhythmia since its launch in 2004 was worth the gamble. Norwich Ventures, of Waltham, MA, and Wyomissing, PA, has the most riding on Rhythmia among the startup’s investors, most of whom are either individual doctors, or business experts like MIT entrepreneurship professor Ed Roberts. The firm plans to begin a clinical trial of its catheter-based system in Europe in the coming months, testing the technology in fewer than 100 patients who are undergoing procedures to correct their irregular heartbeats, according to the firm’s co-CEO, Amariglio.

When asked how he felt about entering human studies, Amariglio said, “It’s exciting because it’s real, and it’s great to finally to be here.”

Rhythmia is attempting to improve the speed and resolution of the catheter-based systems that cardiology specialists called electrophysiologists use to get a three-dimensional view of the heart and the location of tissue responsible for irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias. These systems are key to pinpointing the problematic heart tissues before they are destroyed to treat a patient’s arrhythmia. But existing technologies often require electrophysiologists to spend two to three hours to get a clear picture of the heart and where the culpable tissue resides.

Amariglio and Harlev, the other co-CEO of Rhythmia, decided to start their company without having any technology to solve this problem. (They met in the early half of the last decade while Amariglio was a student at … Next Page »

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