Ventor Technologies, a tiny Netanya-based startup that is developing a unique aortic valve prosthesis, is said to be on its way to playing out one of the most successful exits in the history of Israeli high-tech. The company, which has raised some $20 million in investments since its inception in 2004, will be sold for $325 million to the medical instruments giant Medtronics, making a 16-fold return for its investors.
The exit is particularly exceptional in light of the fact that the company has no sales yet, its product is still in clinical trial stage, and has not been tested on humans. The firm's founders are expected to be among principal beneficiaries. Professor Ehud Shvemental is expected to receive about $57 million, and the firm's chairman, Dr. Shimon Eckhouse, will make about $20 million. The firm's 21 employees will also be reaping the benefits of the exit, when they divide up some $46 million.
Medtronic already invested $7.5 million in Ventor last May. The current deal follows a visit by Medtronic's chief financial officer Gary Ellis visit to Israel three weeks ago. Ellis told TheMarker at the time that Medtronic was scouting for good technology.
Ventor Technologies is developing a unique aortic valve prosthesis that will be implanted in severely ill cardiac patients with heart valve-related diseases to enhance blood supply to the body. Ventor's technology creates a sort of external auxiliary pump for the heart.
The system operates on a simple physical principal known as the Venturi effect, which enables the pumping of liquid by creating pressure differences between two pipes leading into the liquid. The advantage of Ventor's product over that of its two competitors, Edwards Lifesciences and Corevalde, is the catheterization mechanism for more stable positioning of the prosthesis.
At this stage these valves are very expensive, going for about $40,000 apiece, and valve replacement operations are not covered by local HMO services. The high-risk catheterization technique for valve replacement is currently used only in patients who are unable to undergo the operation, and the survival rate one year after the operation is just 73%.