Cortex: Harnessing AI for $90M Afib Transformation with Pulsed Field Ablation


  • Cortex, backed by Ajax Health, is set to transform atrial fibrillation (afib) treatment with pulsed field ablation.
  • Initial funding of $90 million, led by KKR and Hellman & Friedman, with support from AI Life Sciences.
  • Cortex aims to offer an integrated system for diagnosis and treatment, led by CEO Duke Rohlen.
  • Leveraging Ablacon’s Electrographic Flow technology to visualize and address the causes of afib.
  • Ablamap software shows a significant increase in arrhythmia-free outcomes after one year.
  • FDA 510(k) clearance was obtained, and a CE mark approval in Europe is underway.
  • Commitment to precision, simplicity, and efficiency in improving patient outcomes and reducing procedural costs.
  • KKR and Hellman & Friedman’s investments via Cordis-X and Health Care Strategic Growth Fund II.
  • Maverix Medical, another initiative led by Duke Rohlen, focuses on combating lung cancer and diagnostic tech.
  • Maverix takes over Serpex Medical, which is known for its FDA-cleared endobronchial system.

Main AI News:

In a significant move in the field of medical technology, Cortex, a venture spearheaded by the medtech startup incubator Ajax Health, is poised to make waves in the treatment of atrial fibrillation (afib) – a common irregular heart rhythm. With an initial funding commitment of $90 million, Cortex is on a mission to develop cutting-edge pulsed field ablation treatments. This ambitious endeavor is backed by prominent investors such as KKR, Hellman & Friedman, and AI Life Sciences, an affiliate of Access Industries.

Cortex’s strategic approach extends beyond treatment, as the company aims to provide an integrated system capable of both diagnosing arrhythmias and delivering effective treatment. Leading the charge as CEO of Cortex is Duke Rohlen, who also holds the CEO position at Ajax and serves as the CEO of Ablacon, an Ajax subsidiary renowned for its FDA-cleared heart mapping system driven by artificial intelligence.

Cortex is set to leverage Ablacon’s breakthrough technology, the Electrographic Flow, to gain insights into the intricate pathways of electrical signals within the cardiac muscle. This technology, featuring a specialized catheter equipped with 64 electrodes, offers real-time visualization of the origins of erratic electrical activity responsible for afib.

A pivotal randomized clinical trial involving Ablacon’s Ablamap software demonstrated remarkable results, revealing a remarkable 51 percentage-point increase in the number of individuals reporting freedom from arrhythmias after one year of treatment compared to traditional pulmonary vein isolation techniques. This groundbreaking software received FDA 510(k) clearance during the summer and is currently the focus of an international study to secure CE mark approval for European markets.

Duke Rohlen emphasized Cortex’s commitment to developing solutions that prioritize precision, simplicity, and efficiency – all aimed at enhancing patient outcomes while simultaneously reducing procedural costs. KKR and Hellman & Friedman are set to invest in Cortex through the accelerator program Cordis-X, managed by cardiovascular devices company Cordis. KKR is also prepared to provide additional capital through its Health Care Strategic Growth Fund II, marking a significant collaboration in the healthcare sector.

In a whirlwind week of innovation and expansion, KKR, Ajax, and Duke Rohlen made headlines with the launch of Maverix Medical on November 30th. This pioneering venture, developed in collaboration with Hologic, is dedicated to combating lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer-related fatalities worldwide. Under Duke Rohlen’s leadership, Maverix aims to pioneer new diagnostic technologies and acquire groundbreaking solutions in its quest to address this pressing global health concern.

Furthermore, Maverix is poised to take over the reins of Serpex Medical, a portfolio company of KKR and Ajax. Serpex Medical is renowned for its FDA-cleared endobronchial system, featuring steerable biopsy needles for accessing and probing suspicious lung nodules. These recent initiatives underscore the commitment of Cortex, KKR, Ajax, and Duke Rohlen to driving innovation and advancing medical technology on multiple fronts.


Cortex’s substantial funding and innovative approach to atrial fibrillation treatment, coupled with Ablacon’s advanced technology, demonstrate a promising development in the medtech market. Their commitment to precision and efficiency aligns with the growing demand for more effective and cost-efficient medical solutions. The establishment of Maverix Medical further underscores its dedication to addressing critical healthcare challenges, marking significant progress in the medical technology sector.