Carmat Surges After Artificial Heart Implanted in Patient

Dec 23, 2013 11:49 am ET

(Updates with closing share price in second paragraph.)

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Carmat SAS rose 9.7 percent, the biggest gain in more than seven months, after the company’s artificial heart was implanted in a patient for the first time last week.

Carmat closed at 112.82 euros in Paris, giving the company a market value of about 479 million euros ($657 million). Trading volume was more than 24 times the three-month daily average.

The surgery took place at Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris on Wednesday and two days later the patient was speaking with his family, the company said late Friday. Three more volunteers will be fitted with the device in the coming months as part of the first stage of real-life tests for the prosthetic organ.

The company, based in Velizy-Villacoublay near Paris, designed the device for patients with terminal heart failure who can’t get a human organ for a transplant. About 17.3 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2008 and that number may rise to 23.3 million by 2030, the World Health Organization estimates.

Positive test results may fuel speculative interest from cardiology equipment-makers such as Edwards Lifesciences Corp., analysts led by Romain Zana at Exane BNP Paribas wrote in a note to clients.

Four Patients

Carmat didn’t immediately return calls seeking an update on the state of the patient today. French regulators have given the company permission to implant the device in four volunteers. Carmat then plans to review the cases before seeking permission for more advanced tests. An important success measure will be patient survival after one month, according to a statement the company released in September.

Before Friday’s announcement, Carmat shares had dropped 19 percent this year. “Any disappointment in the clinical development stage could send the share price into free-fall as Carmat is a mono-product company,” the Exane analysts wrote.

The heart weighs 750 grams (1.7 pounds) and will cost on average 140,000 euros to 160,000 euros, Chief Executive Officer Marcello Conviti said in an interview this year. The implant is designed to conform as much as possible to the human heart’s anatomy, featuring right and left ventricles and reproducing the muscle’s contraction.

The company’s founder, cardiac surgeon Alain Carpentier, who also is part of Carmat’s scientific advisory board, successfully developed heart valves in the past.

--Editors: Kristen Hallam, Robert Valpuesta