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Carmat Fails to Meet Heart-Device Goals as Stock Holds Up

Carmat SAS surged as much as 8.3 percent after the French medical-device maker said it’s close to the first test of its experimental artificial heart on a human.

The stock jumped as much as 9.50 euros to 124.50 euros, the steepest intraday gain since Feb. 1. The shares traded 7.3 percent higher at 123.43 euros as of 10:28 a.m., giving the Velizy-Villacoublay-based company a market value of 510 million euros ($663 million). The shares have soared more than sixfold since the company’s 2010 stock sale.

Carmat has completed the training of the surgical teams that will implant the device, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. Several centers are ready to carry out the procedure, it added. Carmat’s heart is being developed to counter the low number of organs available for a transplant.

The French device maker “has the financial means to carry out multiple implants,” Chief Executive Officer Marcello Conviti said in the statement. “We are now very close to launching the clinical phase in Europe.”

Carmat is still awaiting a nod from French health authorities for the trial. The company needs to provide extra information to the National Medicine Security Agency before the regulator, better known as the ANSM, can authorize the first test, Axelle de Franssu, a spokeswoman for the agency, said March 1 by phone. The ANSM currently has “‘no visibility’’ on the timing of a possible decision on Carmat’s artificial heart, she said.

Heart Attacks

An estimated 17.3 million people died from cardiovascular disease worldwide in 2008 and that number may rise to almost 23.3 million by 2030, according to the Geneva-based World Health Organization.

Each year there are more than 100,000 patients awaiting cardiac transplantation, and less than 4,000 organs are available for the procedure, according to the company’s website. Carmat’s founder, cardiac surgeon Alain Carpentier, has successfully developed heart valves.

Carmat also said today it’s continuing to produce data for the file registered with the ANSM. So far all of the tests on animals were ‘‘satisfactorily” carried out, Carmat said. The company has also set up a clinical trial program in other countries, it added.

Carmat said its 2012 loss widened to 17.2 million euros, from 13.4 million euros the previous year. As of Dec. 31, it had 11.1 million euros of cash. The company said it has resources to finance itself through 2014.

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