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MedQuest R&D Team Awarded NIH Contract To Develop Implantable Blood Pump For Babies

10/19/2005 5:11:07 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- MedQuest(R) Products Inc., was notified by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that its R&D consortium was awarded a 5-year, $4.5 million contract to develop an implantable, left Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) to support the failing heart of newborns for periods up to six months. This was one of five such awards made nationwide. MedQuest's consortium is led by its academic R&D partner, the University of Pittsburgh, under the leadership of Dr. Harvey Borovetz, Chairman of Bioengineering.

Dr. Borovetz emphasized that "the Pediatric VAD is designed to support newborns who are born with congenital heart defects and undergo corrective surgery. This device will either help their natural heart recover or bridge them to a heart transplant."

MedQuest is the system integrator, device manufacturer, and commercializer of the Pediatric VAD (PVAD). Key engineering organizations that are part of the R&D consortium are: 1) University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, 2) Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and 3) LaunchPoint Technologies, Goleta, California. Clinical partners are: 1) University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), 2) Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh , 3) Primary Children's Medical Center, and 4) LDS Hospital, both based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Drs. John Hawkins, cardiac surgeon, and Robert Shaddy, cardiologist at Primary Children's Medical Center, added that "existing technology is very inadequate and has not been designed to meet the clinical need. We are excited to participate in developing a blood pump designed from first principles to meet this critical need. If the PVAD were available today, it would be used to help many of our pediatric heart failure patients."

The PVAD is designed to be very small, its width that of a quarter. The PVAD is a scaled-down version of MedQuest's proven adult HeartQuest(TM) VAD that has demonstrated superior performance through more than two years of animal testing. For the PVAD, the core development team has been expanded, and development platforms and tools adapted, that have been used to develop the HeartQuest VAD.

Mr. Pratap Khanwilkar, Chief Technology Officer and a co-founder of MedQuest, stated that "the PVAD will form an important part of our planned product offering for the treatment of end-stage congestive heart failure in adults, toddlers, and now newborns while making it affordable by leveraging our platform blood pump technology. The availability of this technology to newborns is enabled by this NIH contract and anticipated support from philanthropic sources."

The HeartQuest(TM) VAD is expected to provide significant benefits over other blood pumps. These benefits are a 10 year-life, very gentle blood handling, and providing flow rates and sizes that will serve the broadest patient population of any implantable pump. These benefits are derived from the simple, yet novel, application of magnetic levitation in a small, compact blood pump.

Magnetic levitation is the application of passive and active magnetic fields to suspend and control a titanium impellor that gently sweeps the blood through the obstruction-free pump augmenting the function of the patient's ventricle. By suspending the impeller in these magnetic fields, metal-on-metal contact areas (load bearings) and dependence on blood to provide lubrication and prevent such contact are eliminated. This dramatically reduces normal wear and tear on the pump giving it an extremely long life expectancy.

Company Background

MedQuest is a pioneer in the development of implantable VADs that use a patented centrifugal pump design platform with a magnetically suspended impeller. A VAD boosts the output of a failing heart to normal levels.

Contact Information

Visit or contact Pratap Khanwilkar at 801-355-6255 ext. 234.

MedQuest Products Inc.

CONTACT: Pratap Khanwilkar of MedQuest Products Inc., +1-801-355-6255ext. 234

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