French firm Carmat to launch artificial hearts by 2015

French company Carmat is hoping that its artificial hearts will be available to patients by 2015 and that its human trials will come to end in 2014. The company will need to be given regulatory approval by the EU before the product can be launched on the European market.

In an interview with Reuters, chief executive Marcello Conviti said the company was seeking to market the product in the US and was already in contact with Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, St Jude Medical and Edwards Lifesciences.

Camat's artificial heart is intended to replace a human heart for up to five years, with French authorities giving the go-ahead for the first human tests of the device in September. The company has also been approved to trial the device in Belgium, Poland, Slovenia and Saudi Arabia. The artificial heart as it currently stands weighs 900g and is estimated to cost between €140,000 (£117,000) and €180,000 (£150,000).
The device imitates heart muscle contractions and contains sensors which alter patients' blood flow, and is powered by external lithium-ion batteries. The company estimates approximately 100,000 patients in the US and Europe could benefit from the device.