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New investment to bring AI heart attack prediction technology to market

By Dan Teuton
30 March 2021
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Caristo Diagnostics, the medical imaging company, has announced it has completed a multi-million-pound investment round. The round was led by BGF, the UK’s most active growth economy investor, and existing investors including Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), Longwall Ventures and the Oxford Technology & Innovation Fund (OTIF).

The funding will be used to roll-out Caristo Diagnostic’s CaRi-Heart, a ground-breaking AI-based cardiovascular risk-prediction technology, which has just received its CE mark accreditation and is available for use by doctors across the UK and Europe. The research that led to the CE mark accreditation was funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and was undertaken at the University of Oxford.

CaRi-Heart transforms the diagnostic accuracy of coronary CT angiograms (CCTA), a test that is widely used to identify patients with suspected heart disease, but currently unable to identify the “ticking-time-bomb” arteries that lead to fatal heart attacks in future years.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world's biggest killer, accounting for more than 30% of all deaths globally. Caristo Diagnostic’s technology was validated in a landmark BHF study involving over 4,000 patients, followed up to nine years after examination. Published in the Lancet, the study showed that at least one third of patients who underwent a routine CCTA that was thought to indicate a low risk, in fact had a much higher risk identified by CaRi-Heart and would have received different treatments.

Shirodaria-CheeragDr Cheerag Shirodaria, chief executive officer and co-founder, Caristo Diagnostics, said: “The beauty of our technology is that it will not only save countless lives, but it is incredibly simple. CaRi-Heart analysis can be undertaken on any CT heart scan, hospitals don’t need to change equipment and patients don’t need another test. Physicians simply need to send their patient’s CT heart scan and they will then receive a CaRi-Heart score to guide patient management. It fits perfectly with a physician’s workflow.”

Professor James Leiper, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The development and approval of this new AI tool is a major success story. It’s a prime example of how BHF-funded research can lay the foundations for a truly transformational advance in the diagnosis and prevention of heart and circulatory diseases.”

Today’s investment in the business will be used to commercialise the CaRi-Heart technology, bringing it to the market in both the US and Europe. Caristo Diagnostics will also be bolstering its technical, sales and marketing teams in the team in the UK to support widespread adoption of the product offering to clinical personnel.

BGF is the one of the most active investors in the life sciences space. To date, it has backed more than 30 life science businesses, with its current portfolio spanning diagnostics, medtech and digital health, as well as services, software and tools supporting therapeutic development.

Jack Teasdale, investor at BGF, said: “Caristo Diagnostics is an incredibly exciting business that has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the approach to the diagnosis and treatment of coronary heart disease, while delivering considerable cost savings to healthcare providers and improving patient outcomes. This is a highly-scalable business addressing a huge market opportunity, and we believe it can become a market leader in a short period of time. We look forward to working with Cheerag and his team, to make the uptake of this product a reality.”

Advisers to the BGF deal, included:

  • BGF – Royds Withy King (led by Iain Butler)
  • Caristo Diagnostics – Penningtons Manches Cooper (led by Attilio Leccisotti)

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