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Innovation + Job News

Startup Aria CV to commercialize U of M med device technology

A start-up company hopes to use University of Minnesota technology to create a medical device that will treat the debilitating disease pulmonary hypertension.

Aria CV, Inc., has licensed technology that was developed at the U of M's Medical Devices Center through its Innovation Fellows Program, a "year on steroids of product development" says Art Erdman, director of the center.

The cross-disciplinary program brings fellows with backgrounds in engineering, medicine, and biosciences together with faculty, medical professionals, and industry collaborators to develop and test ideas for new medical devices.

The yearlong program starts in the field, identifying medical needs in hospitals and on ambulance rides, says Erdman. Last year, 800 needs were narrowed to about 20 projects, which look at every aspect of medical-device development.

Some of those projects make it through to actual development; in its first three years, the Medical Devices Center has produced two startups, 35 patents, and a license agreement, according to Erdman.

Aria's two active founders--Vice President of Engineering Karl Vollmers and and CEO John Scandurra--and the other inventors were fellows in the program until last fall. Since licensing the technology Aria has filed other patents related to the device, which is in the testing and feasibility stage of development, says Vollmers.

Aria CV is a certified company with the Minnesota Angel Tax Credit and has received funding by private investors through the program, says Vollmers, who says Aria could start hiring employees next year.

Vollmers says the device will not replace the drug therapy that many pulmonary hypertension patients go through, "but we believe it will improve the life span and the quality of living considerably."

It will be years before the device is approved, first in Europe and then in the U.S., says Vollmers.

Art Erdman, U of M Medical Devices Center
Karl Vollmers, Aria CV
Writer: Jeremy Stratton
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