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Medical Device Startup Infused with State Cash

A medical device maker co-founded by a Siouxland native recently received a major financial boost.

A state economic development board awarded Corvida Medical $500,000 to help the company commercialize its innovative device, designed to protect health care providers and patients from exposure to chemotherapeutics and other hazardous drugs during preparation and delivery.

Corvida is the first company to receive so-called "Propel" funding from the newly created Iowa Innovation Acceleration Program.

The fund is designed to "accelerate private investment in Iowa-based start-up companies and to increase the overall investment impact," said Iowa Economic Development Authority. Debi Durham, who formerly served as president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.

The IEDA board approved the Corvida funding at the recommendation of the Technology Commercialization Committee, a volunteer panel of Iowa business owners and other professionals.

Corvida Medical management plans to leverage the $500,000 award with matching funds, possibly including additional federal grants.

“We are honored to receive this award and grateful for the support of the state of Iowa and all of our investors,” said Corvida co-founder and chief financial officer John Slump, a graduate of Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School.

Slump and and his co-founder Jared Garfield starting working together as undergraduate students at the University of Iowa. After an older sister was diagnosed with cancer, Slump set out to learn as much as possible about the disease and the chemotherapy treatments being administered to her.

From his research, he learned that some health care workers were being exposed to chemotherapy and developing cancer themselves.

The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa and programs such as the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory and Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute helped lay the foundation for the young partners to develop their business model, Slump said.

Corvida, based in the Iowa City suburb of Coralville, is now entering a large, rapidly growing market. The company, in a news release last week, said it is attracting interest from leading cancer centers as committed test sites and potential launch customers.

In addition to the state of Iowa, Corvida is leveraging funding from the National Cancer Institute and private investors to commercialize its patent-pending technology.

To lead that effort, Corvida recruited Kent Smith, a chief executive officer with more than 30 years of experience in the commercialization of medical devices, and leading large, publicly traded corporations and emerging, privately-held start-up companies.

"We are passionately committed to commercializing innovative medical technologies that ensure safety and improve productivity, enabling health care providers to deliver the highest quality care for their patients," Slump said in a statement.


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