"I am pleased to announce meaningful corporate and clinical progress made in our first quarter of 2013, particularly the initiation of our anticipated pivotal trial, COUNTER HF," said Dave Rosa, Chief Executive Officer of Sunshine Heart. "We are excited and honored to announce Dr. Camacho as our surgical PI for the trial and look forward to her expertise and contributions, as well as those of our new Board members. We are actively adding personnel to support the advancement of our clinical trial. We look forward to updating the market on material pivotal trial enrollment progress, our post-market European study, as well as additional exciting outcomes on existing feasibility patients."
In February, 2013, Sunshine Heart completed the activation of the first site in its European multi-center post-market study, OPTIONS HF. The site, German Heart Institute - Berlin (DHZB), is recognized as a worldwide leading institution for the treatment of late stage heart failure. On May 7, 2013, the first patient was successfully implanted at DHZB and the center is actively recruiting additional patients. The first implant was completed using Sunshine Heart's next generation cuff, which is pre-sutured and pre-marked, decreasing overall procedure time and increasing predictability for cuff securement. Sunshine Heart continues to move forward with site activation, at seven additional sites in Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. Final activation for these sites is expected to be completed by September 1, 2013.
Sunshine Heart received communication from its German reimbursement consultant in the first quarter that reimbursement has been denied based on lack of C-Pulse patient data in Germany. However, DHZB will have the opportunity to negotiate reimbursement directly with the German insurance providers. Sunshine Heart intends to re-submit for future German reimbursement in October along with additional accumulated patient data.
Also in the first quarter, the Company announced the addition of Warren Watson and Jon Salveson to its Board of Directors. Mr. Watson joins Sunshine Heart following a notable 33-year tenure across senior managerial roles at Medtronic (NYSE:MDT). Mr. Salveson brings extensive corporate transaction and financing experience to the Company and is the current Vice Chairman of Investment Banking and Chairman of Healthcare Investment Banking at Piper Jaffray Companies (NYSE:PJC).