Medical device company Sorin Group has made a $20 million minority investment in Respicardia, a developer of implantable therapies to improve Respiratory Rhythm Management.

Under the terms of the transaction, Sorin acquired the exclusive right to distribute the remed? System for the next 5 years in selected countries in Europe and an exclusive option to acquire Respicardia in the future. Respicardia is based in Minneapolis.

Respicardia has developed a fully implantable device for the treatment of central sleep apnea (CSA). The remed?® System is a pacemaker-like device that delivers electrical pulses via an implantable transvenous lead to the phrenic nerve, which restores a more natural, less disrupted breathing pattern. The remed? System received CE Mark approval in 2010 and is currently being evaluated in an FDA-approved randomized, controlled IDE pivotal trial.

Sorin’s $20 million initial investment in Respicardia will finance ongoing clinical testing of the technology. This investment complements Sorin’s therapeutic solutions for heart failure patients.

“Sorin Group is excited to support, through this partnership with Respicardia, the development and commercialization of an innovative technology that has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of patients with central sleep apnea,” says André-Michel Ballester, CEO, Sorin Group, in a release. “Together with our CRM devices and our neuromodulation platform under development, this investment further demonstrates our commitment to developing innovative solutions for heart failure patients.”

Bonnie Labosky, president and CEO of Respicardia, says, “We are delighted to have Sorin Group, a leading European cardiovascular medical device company, as our strategic partner, given our complementary expertise and shared commitment to treating central sleep apnea, a significant co-morbidity for heart failure patients. Together, we look forward to providing patients with the unique and innovative remed? System.”