Its maker, Dura Biotech, is a UConn Technology Incubation Program (TIP) participant. Its CEO, Eric Sirois, received his Ph.D. UConn earlier this year. 400,000. One was from the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund (CBIF); the next was a federal government Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) offer. The funding will allow the team to begin testing the product.
Since the business was founded in 2012, Dura Biotech has focused on game-changing innovations in the field of heart valves potentially. The first is the LowPro Valve, a transcatheter aortic valve 40 percent smaller than anything on the market. Because the catheter gets into the femoral artery in the groin, patients don’t need to undergo open center surgery, a procedure that takes weeks of recovery time and can present great risks for most patients. Catheters are typically measured in units known as French (the first is add up to about one-third of the millimeter).
Those available today are about 22 French. Sirois, “and ours is 14.” And with the recent funding, part that will pay for animal testing, Sirois is confident the scale can be brought by them right down to 12 French. Smaller is important. It’s been approximated that about 17,000 patients this season can’t have the task because their arteries are too small for currently available catheters.
Sirois is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. While he was determining what he wished to do in his civilian life, he found that UConn got one of the primary biomedical anatomist departments in the U.S. During his graduate studies, he enrolled in the entrepreneur program, trained by Hadi Bozorgmanesh, professor of practice in the educational school of Executive. Bozorgmanesh is confident Sirois may lead the company to success.
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He records that while Sirois is “totally concentrated” on making Dura Biotech a success, he also spends time helping other start-ups and motivating undergraduate students to become business owners. When Sirois founded Dura Biotech in 2012 with Wei Sun, a former associate professor at UConn, the original idea wasn’t to make a smaller valve, but a longer-lasting one (hence the “Dura” in the business’s name).
They created the Dura Heart Valve, a valve that continues four times than valves presently on the market longer. October Last, Sirois and his team took the Dura Heart Valve to the largest transcatheter conference in the U.S. The business’s poster was voted one of the better, but drumming up interest in the product itself wasn’t very easy.
For a supplementary dose of discouragement, an investor told them that clinical trials testing for sturdiness take up to eight years specifically. So they surely got to focus on that. The trick is in the “crimped delivery” design, where part of the valve’s material – the leaflet – is manufactured thinner.
With less materials in the manner, the valve can crimp more narrowly. A patent is pending on the technology. Assembling the design requires sewing together three of the valve’s main components. Considering the size of the components and the accuracy required, this is no easy task. Sirois, who got learned to sew uniforms in the military, tried making the valves himself.