The UT Horizon Fund recently invested $150,000 to fund Cardiovate, a San Antonio-based startup that is using technology from two University of Texas System institutions to commercialize a medical device to treat vascular diseases by repairing blood vessels.
The UT Horizon Fund — a formative-stage venture fund created by the UT Board of Regents that provides capital and support to companies with tangible ties to one of UT System’s 14 academic and health institutions — initially invested $50,000 in seed money for the company in 2013.
“Cardiovate’s disruptive technology will improve outcomes for patients who suffer from vascular diseases such as peripheral artery disease,” said Julie Goonewardene, UT System associate vice chancellor for innovation and strategic investment and managing director of the UT Horizon Fund. “The UT Horizon Fund continues to support the company’s efforts to move its life-saving medical device from the laboratory to the bedside.”
Cardiovate CEO Mark Standeford said having the UT Horizon Fund as an investment partner brings credibility and will help attract other investors to his company.
Cardiovate’s medical device was developed by Jordan Kaufmann, Ph.D., while she was a graduate student at UTSA’s College of Engineering, along with her faculty advisers Mauli Agrawal, UTSA vice president of research; and Steven Bailey, M.D., division chief for cardiology at UT Health Science Center San Antonio’s School of Medicine.
“Vascular disease is a progressive and life-threatening condition,” Standeford said. “Our technology will help those patients suffering from it who rely on synthetic bypass grafts for treatment. Current synthetic grafts often times fail to perform well in long-term applications, requiring patients to undergo additional surgeries to treat the condition, or in some cases, they must undergo an amputation.”
Cardiovate’s graft — made from a biodegradable material that can be absorbed by the body after use — is designed to support the body’s own healing process to develop new vascular tissues over time. The three-dimensional architecture and distinct surfaces of the graft will enable the growth of a patient’s own cells. The graft will be used for surgical repairs of blood vessels for peripheral artery disease and below-the-knee surgical applications.
Standeford said the UT Horizon Fund’s latest investment will help Cardiovate execute the next phase of research to conduct long-term studies and show improved results from its grafts compared to other current devices.