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Thursday, 3 July 2014

3rd July 2014, Dublin Ireland. Seroba Kernel Life Sciences, a European life science venture capital company based in Dublin, is pleased to announce the sale of its investee company, Apica Cardiovascular, to Thoratec Corporation (NASDAQ: THOR) for $75m.

Apica has developed an innovative transapical access and closure system that can simplify and standardize the technique used to open and close the apex of a beating heart, in order to deliver large therapeutic devices into the inner chambers of the beating-heart in a minimally invasive manner.

Apica Inc. was founded in November, 2009 by Ajit P. Yoganathan, PhD, Jorge H. Jimenez, PhD, Vinod H. Thourani, MD, and James L. Greene who are accomplished engineers, entrepreneurs and cardiovascular surgeons with over 80 collective years of medical device development and testing experience.

Apica’s technology began life at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. In 2010, Seroba Kernel Life Sciences led a Series A financing of the company, which was also supported by Enterprise Ireland, and Apica moved to the Innovation Centre at Galway NUI where it developed its product range. Apica products enable the delivery of aortic and mitral heart valves via the transapical route (TAVI) and the implantation of heart pumps (LVADs) for patients with advanced heart failure.

The market for LVADs is currently worth c. $1bn, and whilst growing fast, it is currently limited to very high risk patients. Seroba Kernel recognised that by radically improving the safety of the procedure, by shortening procedure time and by minimising blood loss, the Apica technology could substantially increase the size of the treatable population.

Thoratec Corporation (NASDAQ: THOR), a world leader in device-based mechanical circulatory support therapies for failing hearts, has now acquired Apica Cardiovascular Limited for an upfront cash payment of $35million and potential future clinical and sales milestones of up to $40 million. The Apica team will be retained in full at the Innovation Centre at NUI Galway and it is likely that further development and investment in the product will increase employment there over time.

Founder and CEO of Apica Cardiovascular, James L. Greene, who hails from ‘New Jersey’ in the U.S. has over 20 years of experience in the medical device industry. Speaking about the sale of Apica to Thoratec, he said, “we are delighted with the partnership formed by this transaction and look forward to continuing to develop current & future technologies which meet the clinical needs of the physicians we serve and their patients.”

Commenting on the deal, Dr Daniel O’Mahony, a partner in Seroba Kernel, said “We are delighted with the successful outcome of the investment in Apica. It validates our model of taking leading-edge technologies from the USA, where there is a shortage of finance, and implanting them in Ireland whilst retaining links to the US innovators and clinicians. It also reinforces Galway’s position as a world-class hub for medtech development.

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