Greensboro, N.C.-based Ventricle Health, led by Johns Hopkins alum Sean O’Donnell, has secured $8 million in its quest to expand home care for cardiovascular patients. The seed round was led by Boston-based RA Capital Management, with participation from Waterline Ventures of Cambridge, Mass., and others. Both venture firms are focused on healthcare.
Founded in 2021 by Dr. Dan Bensimhon, a Duke University cardiologist with a degree in American literature, Ventricle plans to serve the 50% of Americans with cardiovascular disease that don’t enjoy ready access to cardiologists. By 2030, the U.S. Medicare population alone is on pace to spend more than $70 billion on heart failures, making it the second-largest category spend after renal failure, according to Ventricle Health.
“Our foundational service lines offer a rapid path for either payers or value-based provider groups to connect heart failure patients to high-quality cardiology services and provides a model for cardiologists to effectively manage more patients,” said Bensimhon, the company’s chief medical officer.
Established ‘Care Model’
“Study after study has shown that getting heart failure patients on appropriate guideline-directed medical therapy can dramatically improve health outcomes and lead to marked reductions in costs and improvements in quality of life in just weeks – yet typically less than 20% of our patients are on these medications even when they come out of the hospital. Ventricle is here to change that,” Bensimhon added.
Ventricle says its care model is anchored around well-established “guideline-directed medical therapy” pathways, with home-based and virtually enabled care. It says it can provide patients access to cardiology care appointments from their home in as little as three days, compared with 26, the current average for cardiology appointments in the country. It also expects to lower costs by between 30% and 50%. Currently, Ventricle’s services are available in the Mid-Atlantic, Texas, Ohio and Florida, with expansion on the horizon.
CEO Sean O’Donnell said the funding would help the startup “accelerate and expand access to a care model that is so urgently needed in the U.S., beyond the markets we are currently serving.” Investors like RA Capital and Waterline bring “tremendous clinical and value payment-policy depth from their existing portfolio partner collaborations,” added O’Donnell, who has previously worked at Novartis and Aetna.
Ventricle stands out as the “unique clinical leader poised to offer ACOs [accountable care organizations] and payers a rapidly deployable, full turnkey solution that can deliver outsized value for their partners,” said Anurag Kondapalli, principal at RA Capital Management. He expects the startup to create “significant value-based disruption.”
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RA Capital, which specializes in the life-sciences and drug development sectors, was initially established in 2002 as a hedge fund by Richard Aldrich, former chief business officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Peter Kolchinsky, who was then pursuing a Ph.D. in virology at Harvard University.
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The Boston firm has raised a total of $2 billion via 7 funds. Its last raise was worth $880 million in 2021. It has made over 350 portfolio investments, with recent bets including Amplifier Therapeutics, Commons Clinic, SAB Biotherapeutics and Adela.
Waterline Ventures was founded in 2014 by Robbie Greenglass, previously of Highland Capital Partners, and Oppenheimer and Co. The firm invests in early-stage healthcare technology and services companies. Its recent portfolio investments include Plenful, evolvedMD, Andgo Systems and SimpliFed.