Building on tradition
This innovation didn’t materialize over night: University of Helsinki and HUS Helsinki University Hospital have been conducting various research into this field for years. One of the key scientists in the undertaking was Esko Kankuri who is now bringing his research expertise into the startup.
“Our third co-founder, Annu Nummi, is a cardiac surgeon,” explains Kronström, who himself is a “serial entrepreneur” of sorts: he’s been around to launch several startups during his 15 years stint in the healthcare industry. Kronström doesn’t have a degree in medicine, however, having studied business – but his forte is in finding the commercial potential of various health-related ventures.
“We founded EpiHeart around Christmas 2019, after seven years of academic research,” he says.
The first patients, however, were treated already in 2017. The results from pre-clinical trials and a first-in-man clinical trial have demonstrated safety, feasibility and therapeutic efficacy, says Kronström.
“The therapy has potential to improve the patients’ quality of life and reduce mortality.”
EpiHeart enables the Cardiac Micrograft Therapy™ with medical devices and clinical validation. The therapy is based on patient’s own cells and minimal tissue processing. This approach reduces both the treatment costs and the regulatory burden dramatically, explains Kronström.
“The combination of the unmet need and our unique approach provides excellent foundation for EpiHeart’s rapid growth and profitability in global scale,” he believes.