HighLife is a company focused on Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement (TMVR). The technology is intended for treatment of patients suffering from mitral valve regurgitation and is currently in a stage of clinical evaluation.

The company was co-founded in 2010 by Mr. Georg Börtlein, President & CEO. The intent is to provide a minimally invasive prosthetic mitral valve that is implanted on a beating heart, while preserving the native valve structure and respecting the surrounding anatomy. Ease and safety of use and delivery are key elements of the HighLife technology.

Download the HighLife Fact Sheet HERE.

Board of Directors

Pepe Calle Gordo, Chairman

Ex-CEO Biosensors, also Abbott, Guidant

Mr. Calle Gordo brings 30 years of broad business and management experience in the medical device industry, having served in various executive and managerial roles at Biosensors, Abbott, Guidant and Eli Lilly.

Up to recently, he was Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Biosensors, where he last served as Executive Director and CEO. During his tenure, based in Singapore, he turned around the company’s operating performance, forged strategic alliances and worked with the largest shareholder to successfully privatize and delist the company in order to create a 1$Bn value global player in interventional cardiology.

He previously led the global team that developed Xience™, a family of drug eluting stents and market leader for the treatment of coronary artery disease while serving as Vice President and General Manager of Drug Eluting Stents, Vascular Intervention at Guidant based in California.

As Vice President of Abbott Vascular based in Brussels, he later managed the international operations of Abbott Vascular outside of the US and led globally the commercial introduction of MitraClip™, a percutaneous treatment for mitral valve repair.

Mr. Calle Gordo graduated from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering.

Georg Börtlein, CEO & Founder

Ex-founder of CoreValve

Georg Börtlein is the founder of HighLife and currently its President and CEO. Previously he spent 10 years with CoreValve, a company he co-founded in 2001 to develop a beating heart aortic valve replacement technology (TAVI). Georg acted as COO until the feasibility clinical study. He then participated in the further development of the technology and the clinical studies until CE-mark was obtained. The company was acquired by Medtronic in 2009 for $800+ million. In that period, he also co-founded several other medtech start-up companies in the cardiovascular space, one of which went public and another was acquired.

Having spent the first years of his career in the banking industry, he developed a strong financial background in addition to his technical skills. Georg is inventor in 30 patents.

Georg Börtlein graduated in 1991 as a mechanical engineer from Ecole Centrale Paris, France.




Antoine Papiernik

Sofinnova, General Partner

Antoine Papiernik is a Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners, which he joined in 1997. Antoine has been an initial investor and active board member in public companies like Actelion, ProQR, NovusPharma (then sold to CTI), Movetis (then sold to Shire), Mainstay, Pixium Vision and Stentys, which went public respectively on the Zürich stock exchange, the NASDAQ, the Milan Nuovo Mercato, the Belgium Stock Exchange, the Dublin Stock Exchange and EuroNext Paris, in Cotherix (initially NASDAQ listed, then sold to Actelion), CoreValve (sold to Medtronic), Fovea (sold to Sanofi Aventis) and Ethical Oncology Science (EOS, sold to Clovis Oncology). He has also invested in and is a board member of private companies ReCor, MD Start, Shockwave Medical, Reflexion Medical, Gecko Biomedical, SafeHeal, Rgenix and Corwave. Antoine has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. In 2012 and 2011, Antoine was selected by Forbes for its “Midas List” of the world’s top venture capital investors. Antoine is one of the only Europeans on the list, and one of the few life science investors as well.


Mano Iyer, Independent Director

Founder & COO ReCor Medical

Mano Iyer is currently the COO of ReCor Medical, a company he founded in 2009, which is focused on the emerging therapeutic area of renal denervation for hypertension. Prior to ReCor, he served as Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Sofinnova Partners, a life science venture capital firm, in Paris, France.

Mr. Iyer has spent over 20 years working in the Medical Device Industry in various engineering, operational, and investment roles in the US, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands, for public and private enterprises. He is a co-founder and Board Member of Contract Medical International in Germany and a former Investment Manager at MD Start, a European-based medical device accelerator. In addition, he is an angel investor in a number of early stage companies.

Mano has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Dr Martin Rothman, independent Director

Ex-VP Medical Affairs Medtronic, interventional cardiologist

Dr. Rothman retired recently from his position as Vice President of medical affairs for coronary, structural heart and renal denervation, for Medtronic, based in Santa Rosa (CA), a position he held since 2010. He was involved in the development of the renal denervation program and the innovative Spyral™ renal denervation catheter, TAVR, and the Medtronic percutaneous mitral regurgitation program, including Twelve and development of its Intrepid TMVR product and associated clinical strategy.

Dr. Rothman trained as an interventional cardiologist in Bart Hospital Trust, UK. Then, as a world-renowned interventional cardiologist, he worked for the UK National Health Service for almost 40 years, with the last decade spent as director of cardiac research and development at the London Chest Hospital. He developed its interventional cardiology training program and was responsible for training about one-third of all the interventional cardiologists practicing in the UK today. He has also been a leading investigator in research involving drug-eluting coronary stents and cardiac stem-cell treatment, and helped develop intravascular ultrasound technology.

Dr. Rothman currently holds several positions in start-up companies in the cardiovascular field. Among others, he is founder of and inventor behind several companies including LimFlow, a company addressing critical limb ischemia, Corflow Therapeutics, a company addressing the huge unmet problem of myocardial damage at acute heart caused by microvascular obstruction, HD Clinical, a company that provides Electronic Patient Records to over 300 hospitals in the UK, and PICS Therapeutics, a company addressing acute heart failure using a percutaneous temporary cardiovascular support device.

Anne Osdoit, Observer

Partner, MD Start

As Partner at MD Start since early 2014, Anne is heavily involved in the fundraising, management and operational activities of the medtech company builder. She has been the CEO of SafeHeal (MD Start II’s first company) for 2 years, and is currently the CEO of Ablacare, two MD Start portfolio companies

Prior to joining MD Start, Anne spent 10 years developing Mauna Kea Technologies, a medical technology French start-up company with global operations, offering a disruptive “optical biopsy” technology. At Mauna Kea Technologies, Anne held various positions in clinical and regulatory development as well as marketing and sales support. She was also heavily involved in the different financing rounds as well as in the IPO process. She interfaced with the key opinion leaders and has an extensive network in the fields of endoscopy and surgery (digestive, pulmonary, and urological).

Anne is currently also Venture Consultant at Sofinnova, where she assists with medtech deal flow evaluation, due diligences on new deals and deal closing. She will be leaving this position upon closing of Sofinnova MD Start III.

She is an independent board member of FeetMe and Cardiologs Technologies, two French-based start-ups in the field of e-health and connected medical devices focusing on neurodegenerative and cardiology applications respectively.

Having lived and worked in hospital environments in the US, UK, and France, Anne can translate unmet medical needs into product concepts and integrate regulatory, clinical and market access input and constraints from all around the world in their development and funding.

Anne is a trained biomedical engineer from Ecole Polytechnique of Paris, France and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US. She holds additional degrees in Biostatistics and epidemiology applied to clinical trials (Université Pierre et Marie Curie), as well as Corporate Finance (London School of Economics).