(Adds company’s reaction)
PARIS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - France’s national drugs agency said on Wednesday it had ordered artificial heart maker Carmat to suspend further implants after a fifth patient died in October.
Carmat Chief Executive Stephane Piat said in a statement that the artificial heart was not involved in the patient’s death and that the company’s last three implantations had functioned normally.
A spokeswoman for the drugs agency said that it had requested further information from the company following the patient’s death, which was first reported by Europe 1 radio.
She said that the patient, who had the artificial heart implanted at the end of August, died in October.
The patient was the first of 20 to receive an artificial heart in a new second phase of tests, which is a prerequisite to market the product in the European Union, Europe 1 reported.
The other patients are due to receive their devices in the coming weeks
Carmat has not generated any significant revenue but is closely followed by investors as heart diseases represent a leading cause of death worldwide. Its products could represent a major medical breakthrough if proven reliable.
Shares in the company have lost 17.7 percent so far this year, valuing the company at about 200 million euros ($211.76 million). It reported a net loss of 17.5 million euros in 2015.
In July, Carmat said it had a 43.4 million euros cash position at end-June. ($1 = 0.9445 euros) (Reporting by Chine Labbe; Writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Tom Heneghan)