Detecting Heart Transplant Rejection with Allomap
Every year about 3,500 heart transplants are performed on patients who are suffering from end-stage heart failure or severe coronary artery disease. Even though the procedure sounds risky, the life expectancy after a heart transplant is surprisingly high with 70% of patients living beyond 5 years of the transplant. One complication that can occur from a heart transplant is that of transplant rejection. This occurs when the patient’s immune system attacks the transplanted heart at which point drugs need to be administered to suppress the immune system’s response. How do you know if your body is rejecting your recently transplanted heart? Usually, a biopsy (tissue sample) is used to evaluate the immune system’s response which means more expensive surgical procedures need to take place. One company that is looking to dramatically simplify the heart transplant process is CareDx.
Founded in 2000, Brisbane California based CareDx has taken in just over $126 million in funding so far from the likes of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Intel Capital, Sprout Group, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and GE Capital. In 2007, CareDx filed to raise up to $86.3 million in an IPO and then withdrew their offering the following year. According to an article by VentureBeat, CareDx pulled in $4 million in revenues in the first half of 2007 while posting a net loss of $11.8 million in the same period.
The AlloMap Process
CareDx’s only product offering, Allomap, is a molecular diagnostics assay that uses a 20-gene panel to translate a patient’s immune status into clinically actionable information through the use of a simple blood test. AlloMap has been commercially available since 2005 and was cleared by the FDA in 2008. The 7-step Allomap process can be seen below:
The AlloMap test has been gaining some traction having been used 55,000 times in 105 of the approximately 126 heart transplant centers in the United States. CareDx has 100 available blood draw sites in 38 states throughout the nation where patients can get blood drawn for AlloMap testing. Currently, Medicare and some private payors pay for AlloMap testing. In the event the patient cannot receive coverage, CareDx offers an online payment system that takes credit cards.
While CareDx only offers a single product for heart transplant patients, they are also looking at other transplant applications. Given the Company’s strong financial backing and traction gained in the area of heart transplants, investors seem to believe this company has great things ahead of them.
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