The idea of developing a minimally invasive heart pump arose during an entrepreneurship course at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) being taken in 2018 by two mechanical engineering and robotics students, Jade Doucet-Martineau and François Trudeau, and during a discussion on the subject with a colleague, Dr. Gabriel Georges. Together, they observed that current treatments for heart failure are not optimal, are very costly and are invasive for the patient.
To overcome this scientific gap, the trio decided to analyse the situation further and to launch a business: Puzzle Medical Devices (Puzzle Medical). Their main objective? To improve patients’ quality of life by developing a technological solution offering minimum risk and maximum support for the patient.
In the following months, the team conducted a great deal of research and many consultations with patients, clinicians and experts in the field, including Professor Alain Cribier, a French cardiologist and leading practitioner at the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Rouen in France, and Dr. Philippe Généreux, an interventional cardiologist at the Morristown Medical Centre in New Jersey, United States. What they saw was clear. There was a glaring need to develop a less-invasive, less-restrictive solution than the treatment currently being used.
Designing a modular heart pump
With support from ÉTS incubator Centech, Puzzle Medical finalized the development of its technological solution. In the fall of 2018, a first iteration of the modular pump was manufactured: the ModulHeartTM, composed of a small heart pump inserted inside the patient without open-heart surgery.
After conducting in vitro examinations, an analysis of the results was conclusive. The team then proceeded with pre-clinical in vivo out-patient testing. The results were significant. Using this pump greatly reduced blood traumas and post-operative complications. It then became possible to contemplate inserting the device within human beings.
A revolution in treating the illness
The ModulHeartTM represents a revolutionary technological innovation. Designed and developed in Quebec by passionate young entrepreneurs, this technology with its enormous potential makes it possible to increase access to treatment, to improve the quality of life of patients and to reduce costs associated with this illness.
The results obtained through the technological solution developed by Puzzle Medical were presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the fall of 2020. In January 2021, the FDA granted the business an initial official designation, the U.S. FDA Breakthrough Device Designation.
This certification gives the Montréal business significant leverage. In addition to having the support and collaboration of world-renowned medical experts, Puzzle Medical will devote the coming months to preparing for human treatment.
Our philosophy is to give priority to patients’ well-being in every decision we make,” indicates Jade Doucet-Martineau, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Puzzle Medical Devices.
With financial assistance from CED and support from Centech, the business will pursue the development of business partnerships and the marketing of the ModulHeartTM in North America. Puzzle Medical Devices is quickly making great strides in a field where the development and certification cycle is recognized as being long.
The business currently employs a dozen people, including clinical experts.
Propelling economic development through innovation and entrepreneurial talent
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) is proud to support innovation and entrepreneurial dynamism among youth across all Quebec regions. Thank you to the winners. Through their audacity and ingenuity, they represent a new generation of entrepreneurs with promising futures ahead of them.