HighLife has been the second internship of my higher education : It was a 2 month professional experience in the center of Paris. It is a biomedical startup which aims to implement semi biologic mitral valve through the femoral vein. Transforming complex open heart,💓 surgery into a simple ambulatory surgery.
Today, mitral valve insufficiency is a really commons old age disease which affects people in a spectacular way weakening every part of their body ( the typically weak old person ). A way of treating such a problem dates from the 80s where artificial valve where placed inside of the heart through a complex open heart surgery. Such device required patients to be in a good shape -which is rarely the case- and to take anti clotting drugs for the rest of their lives. You can find more bout HighLife on their official website.
a screen shot of the FluoroCT software
HighLife has developed a valve made from pig tissue, cotton fabric and nitinol alloy structure. This allows the valve to be malleable at low temperature an to open up inside the patient’s anatomy. the valve is maintained in place thanks , 🙏 to an elastic placed around the anatomical ropes that links the valve to the bottom of the heart.
An actual CT scan of a heart with an HighLife valve
From a group of only three people, HighLife has grown to 13 associates in France, 🇫🇷 and in California. As it was a small startup I was able to meet with people from very diverse backgrounds such as biomedical engineer, material engineer, manager, heart surgeon, 👩⚕️ , doctors …
HighLife Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement Procedure from Malek
I came at a point were Highlife was at the same time, testing its V1.2 valve, creating the V2 valve and delivery, 📦 system as well as beginning clinical trials of the V1 valve. It was a crucial moment where I had a lot to do but mainly a lot to learn.
My work there consisted on two things mainly. trying to develop a new Loop Placement Catheter, to deliver the elastic, that would not harm the human being. From this simple task I would need to create prototypes and simulation on Solidworks to find something that would be able to achieve the requirements.
Such a prototype where you can see the first demonstration concept on the lower images finally made it through the meticulous verification of the Highlife team. Which they are now using for the V2 LPC.
In addition to that I would need to dive into the FluoroCT software from which you can see a screen, 📺 shot on the previous image.
Thanks to this software I was able to screen different patient’s anatomy and to simulate the curvature and tensions applied to the Valve Delivery Cather and compare it to what knowledge we had gained in animal , 🦓 vivo tests.
A contrario to the upper video presenting the V1, the V2 VDC follows the same path than the LPC that you can see at the beginning of the video. I was one more time glad to hear just recently that the catheter behaved exactly as planned during the first anatomical trial.
You can find more about my internship and what I have done in my 2015 Internship report.
I am now very happy to announce that highLife has just received a Serie A investment of 11 million euros 💶!