Industry: Biological pacemakers

BioPace is developing a hardware-free “biological pacemaker” to complement or replace traditional implantable devices.

The technology uses mRNA-mediated gene transfer – called Tbx18 transduction – to deliver a human gene that dictates the formation of pacemaker tissue. When TBX18 is re-expressed within an adult human, the hallmark features of native pacemaker tissue in the heart are reproduced. When combined with a small molecule, A83-01, TBX18-induced pacemaker cells have proven durable.

BioPace’s published data demonstrates the feasibility of the concept in small and large animal models. As of spring 2021, the company was working to further validate the concept for clinical application. 

The market for electronic pacemaking devices is large and growing, with 200,000 people receiving implantations yearly; a $5.7 billion global industry. While implantable devices are effective, they also remain flawed, requiring battery/generator changes, causing infections or malfunctioning. BioPace is addressing the need for new pacemaking technology, as cardiovascular complications remain a leading cause of morbidity/mortality.

Tbx18 transduction is a method of turning on genes in heart muscle cells as a treatment for certain cardiac arrhythmias. Currently this therapy is in the very early stages of experimentation, having only been applied to rodents

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