In another landmark event, two medical device startups – CorInnova and Intelligent Implants – were each awarded $250,000 grants at the Texas Medical Center (TMC) on Thursday. These funds were from the $25 million TMC Venture Fund which was raised by the Texas Medical Center to support new startups in the healthcare sector. This announcement was made during the TMC Innovation Center’s biannual Digital Health Demo Day.
As to give his remarks on this eventful occasion, the president and chief executive officer of the Texas Medical Center, Bill McKeon stated that:
“The two companies receiving financial support from the TMC Venture Fund are indicative of our mission in a myriad way.
I am extremely proud of the growth and progress that these companies have made in their time spent at TMC Innovation. I have full confidence that these startups will go on to do tremendous work in the healthcare space with the additional financial backing each company has been awarded from the fund.”
The TMC Venture Fund was officially unveiled in November 2017 with a primary purpose of creating an enabling Houston’s healthcare ecosystem in which technologies and early-stage companies can flourish, and also to further the TMC’s commitment to health, education and research.
An occupant at Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLABS @ TMC, CorInnova, is developing a soft robotic non-blood contacting biventricular cardiac assist device called “EpicHeart”. This technology is developed to aid increase in blood output and promote heart recovery for individuals who suffered from heart failure.
On receiving the grant from TMC Venture Fund, the president and CEO of CorInnova Inc., William Altman expressed his delight, saying that:
“We are delighted to be selected by the TMC Venture Fund for a significant investment from such a highly competitive group of companies, as it shows broad recognition from the Texas Medical Center institutions for the transformative nature of our next generation minimally invasive cardiac assist device technology.
The impact of the investment is high—the TMC Venture Fund investment alone will pay for our final large animal safety studies which will then qualify CorInnova to begin the first-in-human trial and allow CorInnova to raise a significant next venture round.”
Also another occupant of the JLABS @ TMC, Intelligent Implants, is employing wireless implantable electronics in the enhancement, control and in monitoring bone growth in real time, towards the treatment of bone and tissue diseases and aid recovery.
At the 2017 TMC QuickFire Challenge which was launched by Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices as a platform to discover early-stage medical device innovations which can prove to be able to make scientific breakthroughs in strategic areas and also in surgical oncology and obesity, the company came out as second place.
For his acceptance speech, John Zellmer, co-founder and CEO of Intelligent Implants said:
“Intelligent Implants was founded in Europe. We moved most of our operations to Houston a little more than a year ago. Now, as a Houston-based company, we are excited to further integrate into this amazing ecosystem that TMC built around the life science and medical device industry. Receiving funding and support from TMC will aid and accelerate our efforts to help patients get better quicker after spinal fusion surgery and avoid devastating complications.”
So far, the TMC Venture Fund has been able to fulfill one of the key principles of the Texas Medical Center’s strategic plan by “transforming innovative ideas into tangible solutions for improving health. The fund is aimed at providing the needed monetary resources to young startups in the healthcare sector with a nexus to Houston and the Texas Medical Center. These early, but critical-stage, investments improve companies’ chances of obtaining additional funding and long-term success.”
Erik Halvorsen, director of the TMC Innovation Institute, which is saddled with connecting promising innovators with revered individuals in academia, science and medicine, rounded off by saying:
“CorInnova and Intelligent Implants have each made tremendous strides since entering the doors at TMC Innovation.
Working closely with both of them in various capacities, I have gained an intimate knowledge of the capabilities that these companies possess that will enable them to improve patient health and ultimately save an innumerable amount of lives. Both are deserving Venture Fund recipients to the utmost degree.”