It weighs less than a pound, and Cleveland Clinic biomedical engineer Dr. Leonard Golding believes it is the future of the artificial heart that will not only keep people alive if they're waiting for a heart transplant or not, but also allow them to have a normal quality of life.
The unique device is one of the first high-tech advances since the artificial mechanical heart came on the market 30 years ago.
Foreign investors believe in it too.
That's why Cleveland Heart, Inc., a Cleveland Clinic Innovations spin-off company, has received a $30 million investment that will fund further development and clinical trials for a total artificial heart.
Power Heart Consortium, a Korean private-equity group, made the investment to further the development of the SmartHeart Total Artificial Heart, which is a total artificial heart and left ventricular assist device designed for long-term, durable use in patients suffering from biventricular heart failure.
The investment will allow Cleveland Heart, Inc. -- a joint venture between Cleveland Clinic and TransWorld Medical Devices, LLC -- to continue international clinical trials, expand laboratory research and implement new design concepts for the SmartHeart.
Cleveland Clinic Innovations, the corporate venturing arm of Cleveland Clinic, is responsible for company creation, business development and commercialization of all medical technology throughout Cleveland Clinic.
The $30 million investment is the largest that a Cleveland Clinic Innovations spin-off has received from a single investor.
Cleveland Clinic also has invested in Cleveland Heart.
Roughly 23 million people worldwide suffer from heart failure, with two million new cases each year.
About 50 percent of patients with Class IV heart failure die within one year of its onset.
About 2,500 patients in the United States receive a heart transplant annually, and more than 25,000 people die every year while waiting for a donor heart.