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Health Care Entrepreneur, Stent Inventor Villafana To Speak at UI

Manny Villafana, a Minneapolis entrepreneur and developer of numerous frequently used pacemakers, stents, and heart valves, will visit the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business next week.

Villafana will meet with students on Thursday, Sept. 27, and Friday, Sept. 28. He also will discuss his career as an entrepreneur in a lecture starting at 4 p.m. in Room 1289 (Kelch Conference Room) of the Carver Biomedical Research Building. The lecture is sponsored by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and the Entrepreneurial Ventures Group.

A reception will follow his lecture. To RSVP, visit the JPEC web site at The lecture is sponsored by JPEC, Iowa State Bank and Trust Co.. and Iowa Centers for Enterprise.

Among Villafana's inventions are the St. Jude heart valve and the first open pivot heart valve. He founded Guidant Corp. in 1972 after working as a sales representative and sales manager for rival Medtronic. The company designed and manufactured artificial pacemakers, defibrillators, stents, and other cardiovascular health care products. The company is now owned by Boston Scientific.

Villafana left Guidant in 1976 and founded St. Jude Medical, which he left in 1982. He has founded several other companies to develop and manufacture health care products, including GV Medical, ATS Medical, and CABG Medical.

In 2006 he founded Kips Bay Partners, a medical technology venture capital firm that he currently leads.

Villafana was raised in the Bronx, N.Y., and now lives with his wife and two daughters in Minneapolis. Although he never attended college, he has been honored as a Living Legend in Medicine Award recipient, the National Medical Entrepreneur of the Year in 1990, and a grand prize recipient of the Mediterranean Institute of Cardiology.

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