Tiny Heart Valve Has Big Potential For Startup

Its maker, Dura Biotech, is a UConn Technology Incubation Program (TIP) participant. Its CEO, Eric Sirois, received his Ph.D. This year UConn earlier. 400,000. One was from the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund (CBIF); the second was a federal government Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. The funding will allow the united team to begin testing the product.

Since the business was founded in 2012, Dura Biotech has focused on game-changing innovations in neuro-scientific center valves potentially. You are the LowPro Valve, a transcatheter aortic valve 40 percent smaller than anything on the market. As the catheter gets into the femoral artery in the groin, patients won’t need to undergo open heart surgery, a procedure that takes several weeks of recovery time and can create great risks for many patients. Catheters are traditionally measured in units known as French (one 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 assured the scale can be brought by them right down to 12 French. Smaller is important. It’s been estimated that about 17,000 patients this year can’t have the procedure because their arteries are too small for available catheters.

Sirois is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. While he was determining what he wanted to do in his civilian life, he found that UConn got one of the leading biomedical engineering departments in the U.S. During his graduate studies, he enrolled in the entrepreneur program, trained by Hadi Bozorgmanesh, teacher of practice in the educational college of Anatomist. Bozorgmanesh is assured Sirois can lead the ongoing company to success.

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He notes that while Sirois is “totally concentrated” on making Dura Biotech a success, he also spends time helping other start-ups and uplifting undergraduate students to get business owners. When Sirois founded Dura Biotech in 2012 with Wei Sun, a former associate teacher at UConn, the original idea wasn’t to produce a smaller valve, but a longer-lasting one (hence the “Dura” in the company’s name).

They created the Dura Heart Valve, a valve that can last four times longer than valves currently on the marketplace. Last October, Sirois and his team took the Dura Heart Valve to the biggest transcatheter conference in the U.S. The company’s poster was voted one of the better, but drumming up curiosity about the merchandise itself wasn’t so easy.

For a supplementary dosage of discouragement, an investor told them that clinical trials specifically testing for sturdiness take up to eight years. So they got to focus on that. The trick is in the “crimped delivery” design, where area of the valve’s material – the leaflet – is manufactured thinner.

With less material in the way, the valve can crimp more narrowly. A patent is pending on the technology. Assembling the design requires sewing collectively three of the valve’s main components. Considering the size of the components and the precision required, this is no easy job. Sirois, who experienced learned to sew uniforms in the military, attempted making the valves himself.