Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images
French company Carmat, the designer and developer of the world’s most advanced total artificial heart received the CE marking recently. This lets the company sell its total artificial heart system in all countries that recognize this certification including the EU region. This system acts as a bridge to a heart transplant for patients suffering from irretrievable end-stage heart failure.
Shares in Carmat achieved their biggest gain in over seven years following the approval to sell the first-ever artificial heart in Europe. As a result of the same, the stock price reached 34% to €32.05 (nearly £28.7) in Paris in late December. The shares have advanced 66% this year, thereby giving Carmat a market value of nearly €407M (nearly £364M).
Cardiac surgeon and heart-valve inventor Alain Carpentier proposed the development of an artificial heart system in 1993 to French industrialist Jean-Luc Lagardere. The industrialist deployed a few labs and engineers from his missile company Matra at Carpentier’s disposal. Over the years, the project expanded through mergers, which led to Matra being a part of Airbus SE. Lagardere is the biggest shareholder of Carmat with 13% stake while Carpentier owns 5.3%.
While Carmat has taken 10 years to obtain the CE mark, it is touted to be a record considering the complexity of the device. The company appears to be in plans to ramp up production of the artificial heart system, which is likely to be launched in the second quarter of this year.
“The CE marking is great news for patients and a major milestone for Carmat,” said Stéphane Piat, CEO of the Vélizy-Villacoublay, a France-based company. “As early as January, we will accelerate the ramp-up of our manufacturing activities and intensify discussions with our core target customers in order to achieve a smooth commercial launch during the second quarter of 2021, and thus offer a solution to many patients waiting for a heart transplant.”
It is believed that Carmat’s artificial heart has great potential and could sell top 700 million euros in terms of annual sales in Europe by 2030. Portzamparc analyst Mohamed Kaabouni wrote, “Everyone was waiting for it, and it’s here now. The CE mark is crucial for patients and the French company probably got approval for a blockbuster, given how large the medical need is and how rare and ineffective other solutions are.”