Press release 18 february 2021
ROM Utrecht Region invests in CART-Tech B.V.
Utrecht based company CART-Tech to develop ‘GPS for pacemakers’
The Regional Development Agency ROM Utrecht Region has made its first investment. With their co-investment, ROM enables CART-Tech to finalise the development of its CARTBox product and introduce it to the market.
Counciler Klaas Verschuure of Utrecht municipality today formally sealed the investment by handing a symbolic tree to CART-Tech’s management.
Shareholders of the ROM include the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Utrecht University, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht municipality, and other regional authorities.
Counciler Klaas Verschuure (Economic Affairs): “CART-Tech is a company that Utrecht can be proud of. The company has originated from UMC Utrecht [department of cardiology] and thereby finds its roots in the heart of our country. CART-Tech is an excellent example of an early-stage company that gets the support that it deserves thanks to the investment at the ROM.”
CARTBox® enables cardiologists to place pacemakers more efficiently and at the right location. As a result, an increased number of patients with severe heart failure can receive optimal treatment, resulting in a better life expectancy.
CARTBox® is used for patients with heart failure who need an advanced pacemaker. During the placement of the pacemaker, stimulation wires are placed in the heart. With the standard X-ray imaging, the cardiologist cannot see the heart’s affected areas, which is necessary for correct placement of the wires.
Consequently, in 30% of the treatments, the wires are not placed at the optimal site, causing patients with severe heart failure to have no or insufficient benefit from their pacemaker.
With CARTBox®, CART-Tech is able to at least halve the number of misplacements.
CARTBox® combines standard MRI and X-ray imaging in an innovative way. The CARTBox-terminal transfers MRI data safe and automatically from the hospital to the cloud. Subsequently, the data will be analysed utilising artificial intelligence/deep learning techniques. The results are returned automatically from the cloud to the hospital, where they will be merged with X-ray images of the patient.
For cardiologists, the merged images act as a navigation system for the heart. He sees on a single screen where the wires should be placed and the best way to get there (using one of the blood vessels).
Frebus van Slochteren and Paul Leufkens, founders of CART-Tech and CTO and CEO of the company: “We are extremely pleased with this investment, which enables us to continue developing CARTBox® and improve treatment for patients with heart failure.
Developed at UMC Utrecht
UMC Utrecht is closely involved with the development of CARTBox. Dr Mathias Meine, cardiologist, principle investigator and co-inventor: “We are extraordinarily proud that a technique that we have developed in-house is now examined in large-scale clinical studies. Once the safety and efficacy of CARTBox have been demonstrated, this will lead to improved patient care and optimal deployment of resources in our department.”
Mirjam van Velthuizen, member of the board of UMC Utrecht and shareholder of the ROM, is equally proud: “It is the curiosity about new possibilities that often ensures progress. For that reason, we are a proud participant in the ROM Utrecht Region. This social investor aims to support start-ups, scale-ups, and innovative SMEs, within the Health sector and more, in the development of promising innovations. As a university medical center, we are naturally committed to stimulating innovation in education, research and care. It goes without saying that I am extremely proud that the first investment is now being made to further develop an innovation conceived in the Cardiology department of UMC Utrecht.”
ROM Utrecht Region as an investor
ROM Utrecht Region is a social investor that increases access to capital for innovative companies in the Utrecht region. They invest in the major transition sectors that are important for tomorrow’s economy: digital, health, and sustainability. The ROM works together with numerous partners within and outside the Utrecht region to realise the financing for these companies. ROM Utrecht Region has two funds: the Healthy Urban Living Proof-Of-Concept (HUL POC) fund, and the Participation fund. The ROM invests in CART-Tech B.V. from its Healthy Urban Living Proof-Of-Concept (HUL POC) fund
Other investors in this investment round include Simba B.V., Bannenberg & Partners Medical Consultancy and Medical2Market B.V.
Councilor Klaas Verschuure hands out the symbolic tree to Frebus van Slochteren and