French company Carmat SA has achieved a medical breakthrough years in the making with the approval of the first artificial heart ever developed, according to Bloomberg News.
Bloomberg reports that the project began as far back as 1993, and research and development has been carried forward by missile company Matra, which then became part of airplane manufacturing company Airbus, which is Carmat's largest shareholder. Carmat began the process of obtaining a CE Mark, which is the rough European Union equivalent of FDA approval, ten years ago, and the mark was granted this week.
At present, the device is only intended to be a "bridge" to a living heart transplant for people who are in irreversible cardiac failure, and is not intended to be a permanent replacement heart. Still, estimates indicate that Carmat could sell over 700 Euros worth of the product annually by 2030.
Additionally, the device can serve to prolong the life of many people who are suffering from end-stage heart failure that does not respond to medical treatments. There are currently millions more people per year who are in this predicament than there are available potential heart donors, with the result that millions die annually while waiting for a transplant, and might experience prolonged life from the artificial heart.
Carmat CEO said Thursday that the company's achievement of a CE Mark in 10 years "is a record, given the complexity of such a device. We'll have to work with doctors and medical centers now to offer our therapy and we'll have to look for patients. The production phase will be a delicate one."
Carmat SA stock climbed sharply on the news, up as much as 50 percent during Thursday's training.