Sorin Group S.p.A. Acquires Catholic University of Leuven Spin-Off Neurotech
Published: Nov 12, 2012
Established in the end of nineties, NeuroTECH was co-founded by M. Troosters and three members of UCL (Prof. C. Trullemans, Prof Cl. Veraart and Dr. J. Delbeke). During the first years of the company, the spin-off of two laboratories (Neural Rehabilitation Engineering and Microelectronics Laboratory) assisted in the development of a visual prosthesis in the frame of European grants. A world premiere took place in 1998, with the implantation of an optic nerve visual prosthesis at the Cliniques universitaires St-Luc, Brussels.
In 2002, the company identified a new application for the treatment of refractory epilepsy. A novel implantable vagus nerve stimulation system was developed. ADNS-300, CE marked, is able not only to stimulate but also to record compound action potentials from the vagus nerve, using this information to potentially personalize the therapy and provide an improved outcome. Chronic recording of the compound action potentials of the vagus nerve has been another world premiere for Neurotech, which it achieved in collaboration with the University of Gent's department of Epileptology of Prof. P. Boon. Other prototypes were also developed by NeuroTECH to evaluate the use of neurostimulation to treat either refractory obstructive sleep apnea, or movement disorders respectively.
Since its inception, SOPARTEC, a wholly owned subsidiary of UCL and manager of VIVES Louvain Technology Funds was one of the co-founders and an early investor in the company. From 2005 onwards, the company was funded by VIVES I and SRIW.
"I am very pleased that the unique technological building blocks we have developed for our products, can now be used for the treatment of debilitating diseases otherwise refractory to other treatments, within SORIN GROUP," said Mr. Michel Troosters, founder and past CEO.
"This acquisition represents a further important step forward in our long-term growth initiatives as announced in our recent Strategic Plan," said André-Michel Ballester, Chief Executive Officer of Sorin Group.
Bruno Delvaux, Rector of UCL, added: "Building bridges between science and industry for the benefits of society is one of the key missions of UCL. Our research, through an integrated technology transfer process, contributes directly to address unmet therapeutic needs."
Founded in 1994 as a spin-off of Université catholique de Louvain, NeuroTECH's mission (http://www.neurotech-int.eu) is to design, develop and bring to market cost-effective active implantable medical devices improving the quality of life of patients suffering from neurological, psychiatric and related disorders. Neurotech's first commercial product, an implantable vagus nerve stimulator, presents two key differentiators: the ADNS-300 uses a rechargeable battery and not only stimulates the vagus nerve but also records neural activity from the left vagus nerve using an innovative cuff electrode. This unique sensing feature enables the physician to capture the "compound action potential" (CAP) generated by the stimulation, which should allow an improved and personalized treatment.
About Sorin Group
Sorin Group (Reuters Code: SORN.MI) is a global medical device company and a leader in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The Company develops, manufactures, and markets medical technologies for cardiac surgery and for the treatment of cardiac rhythm disorders. With 3,750 employees worldwide, Sorin Group focuses on three major therapeutic areas: cardiopulmonary bypass (extracorporeal circulation and autotransfusion systems), cardiac rhythm management, and heart valve repair and replacement. Every year, over one million patients are treated with Sorin Group devices in more than 80 countries. (http://www.sorin.com )
The Louvain Technology Transfer Office (LTTO) was created as a partnership between the UCL Research Administration (ADRE) and SOPARTEC SA (http://www.sopartec.com) to connect industry with academic science and transfer UCL's discoveries from the lab to the market. The technology transfer activities contribute to develop new products and solve problems thanks to research initiated by UCL. They foster innovation in combination with high level of research and education. At UCL, the transfer of technologies dates back to the early nineties. More than 50 spinoff companies, which today generate more than 3,000 jobs, contribute to new economic activity and to the development of society. SOPARTEC is also the managing company of a €43m VIVES Louvain Technology Fund, the largest European investment fund ever initiated by a university. VIVES is a multi-sectorial technology investment fund that invests in spin-offs of Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) as well as start-ups in Belgium and neighboring countries. The objective of the fund is to invest in the development of start-ups, from technological validation through commercial maturity. Please visit : http://www.llto.com http://www.vivesfund.com
Founded in 1425, the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) is one of Europe´s oldest universities. It offers hundreds of educational programmes to more than 27,000 students from some 120 countries. UCL is ranked 125th in the QS World University Rankings (2011-2012), making it the number one university in the French Community of Belgium. Education, Research and Service to Society are the three fundamental missions of UCL. Anchored in a tradition of excellence, they have always opened up UCL to its region, Europe and the world. Research is closely linked to learning and teaching and is the raison d´être and the driving force of the university's activity. Often applied but also implied, research at UCL is the day-to-day activity of responsible and passionate men and women. Whether in the short or long term, research constitutes one of the best investments in economic, social and cultural terms. Financing research, like financing education and health, must count among the highest priorities of a country and constitutes the pride of an advanced society. Please visit : http://www.uclouvain.be
SRIW (Société Régionale d'Investissement de Wallonie) provides finance within and outside Belgium for businesses undertaking industrial projects or providing services that generate added value in the Walloon Region of Belgium. For the last 30 years, the company has in this way been facilitating the Walloon Region of Belgium's economic development, contributing effectively and in real terms to the modernisation, growth and restructuring of the businesses that make up our industrial fabric. http://www.sriw.be
SOURCE Sopartec SA