MicroVention announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded the company U.S. Patent No. 6,878,384 for its proprietary environmentally-responsive or "smart" hydrogel called Intelligel. This patent covers methods of making and using Intelligel and is useful for broad medical applications including a range of vascular embolization applications such as the treatment of aneurysms, fistulae and vessel occlusions.
"This patent is an important addition to MicroVention's intellectual property portfolio which now numbers in excess of 20 issued U.S. Patents," said Mike Kleine, President & CEO of MicroVention. "Intelligel is a key component of our HydroCoil Embolic System (HES), the platform technology that is leading a transition to coated coils in vascular embolization, and in particular cerebral aneurysm treatment. As we continue to grow our market share in the embolization markets, the expansion of our intellectual property portfolio covering our unique inventions strengthens MicroVention's competitive position as an industry leader," added Kleine.
MicroVention's HES coil is a unique endovascularly placed embolization device combining controlled expansile, smart hydrogel (Intelligel) technology with a platinum microcoil. After delivery through a standard microcatheter, the Intelligel material expands to a maximum controlled size to more completely fill an aneurysm or other vascular site. The HydroCoil system provides dramatically improved filling while maintaining the safety and ease of use of platinum coils. Published research indicates a correlation between improved aneurysm filling and improved clinical outcomes and durability in endovascular therapy.
The HES, which was designed using Intelligel to be a more durable solution for endovascular aneurysm therapy is now being assessed as part of a 550-patient independent clinical study. The prospective, randomized study, underway in the United Kingdom and other centers worldwide, is comparing the results derived from the HydroCoil system to results from bare platinum coils which are currently the most commonly used embolization treatment modality.
A cerebral aneurysm is a ballooning of a weakened region of a blood vessel. If left untreated, the aneurysm may continue to weaken until it ruptures and bleeds into the brain. Approximately two to five percent of the U.S. population is estimated to have cerebral aneurysms, although most go undetected. Over 150,000 cerebral aneurysm patients are treated annually worldwide, with an increasing number being performed endovascularly. The HydroCoil offers a new therapeutic alternative to the current treatment choices: platinum coil embolization and neurosurgical clipping. Platinum coils have been used for aneurysm embolization for more than 10 years since they were introduced by Target Therapeutics, now a division of Boston Scientific. The Company estimates the worldwide market for endovascular devices for the treatment of cerebral aneurysms will grow from approximately $250 million annually to over $500 million within the next several years.