Artificial heartmaker Carmat will begin sales of its devices from the second quarter of this year after a long-awaited European Commission approval.
Carmat this week obtained a CE mark for the device, meaning the company can now sell it in the European Union as a bridge to a heart transplant for patients suffering from irreversible end-stage heart failure. Surgeon and heart-valve inventor Alain Carpentier proposed development of an artificial heart to French industrialist Jean-Luc Lagardere in 1993. Lagardere put a few labs and engineers frrom his Matra missile company at Carpentier’s disposal and the project expanded over the years, including through the mergers that led to Matra becoming part of what is now Airbus SE. The planemaker is Carmat’s biggest shareholder, with a 13% stake, while Carpentier owns about 5.3%.
Shares in Carmat SA posted their biggest gain in more than seven years after the company got approval to sell the first-ever total artificial heart in Europe, the culmination of a 27-year effort that began with a pitch from a French cardiac surgeon to an aerospace company. The stock climbed 34% to 32.05 euros at 11:29 a.m. in Paris after rising as much as 50%, its steepest intraday gain since May 2013. Carmat shares have advanced 66% this year, giving the company a market value of about 407 million euros ($496 million).