The artificial pancreas system, which consisted of a skin sensor and an algorithm-programmed insulin pump, monitored and automatically regulated Kate’s blood sugar levels, similar to a healthy pancreas.
As one of 16 teenagers in a 2013 study by Dr. Boris Kovachev, Kate no longer had to worry about lowering or jumping blood sugar.
“Watching this computer screen and being able to see how the amount of insulin changes was amazing,” Robin said.
The potential of the state-of-the-art device was not lost by UVA Licensing & Ventures Group, the organization for intellectual property management and commercialization of innovations for the university’s research portfolio.
In 2016, LVG made the first investment of the university’s newly opened $ 10 million fund in TypeZero Technologies, whose artificial pancreas technology helped with licensing.
Two years later, the decision paid dividends when TypeZero was purchased by DexCom Inc., which provides glucose monitoring for people with diabetes.
Supported by its ability to maximize the economic impact of UVA discoveries, as well as its stated mission to “enrich and improve life” – a charge that is in line with UVA President Jim Ryan’s strategic plan for 2030 to be both ” Great and Good University – LVG recently began managing a second $ 10 million start-up fund for the university.
Peter Grant, chairman of LVG’s board of directors, said LVG was grateful for the support from both the university and the healthcare system, which had committed to the two funds.
“We are very happy, through a lot of dialogue and a lot of testing of assumptions and observations of other programs across the country, that we received the support of Fund I from the previous university administration and we feel equally grateful that the current administration supported our desire to stay road and provide funding for Seed Fund II, “said Grant.
“We do not take this support lightly and we know that we have work to do, a mission to carry out and a service to provide to the people who generate intellectual property at the university.”
Grant, founder of Anchormarck Holdings LLC, said the first start-up was the result of several conversations around Grounds in 2015 that showed an appetite for such an investment instrument.
“The thought was, ‘How do we expand beyond just translational research and support or investment and fill what many call this Death Valley?'” Grant said. “He had this idea that in order to get your next round of support or funding, you might have to go outside our local ecosystem to do so because there was no formal path.
“Certainly there was investment capital or private capital available here, but for someone who works as a clinician or full-time in one of our laboratories, the idea of having to go through a process of going around and investing time and energy in raising funds. capital, it’s discouraging – especially if you haven’t done it before. “
In this sense, eight of the 10 investments of portfolio companies that are still in the first start-up fund have founders who are members of the UVA faculty; the other two are founded by alumni.
TypeZero and 510 Kardiac Devices are the two alumni of the funds.
“Both companies have generated positive returns for the fund and the university,” Grant said, “but just as important, if not more important, they have made life better for people and patients. We certainly think that both companies are great examples of this. “
Dr. Scott Lim, Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Medical Director of the UVA Advanced Cardiac Valve Center, co-founder of 510 cardiac devices with his colleague Jaime Sarabia. Lim spent years developing a tool called the Lim Transseptal System, which allows greater needle control during heart surgery and the ability to position itself in precise locations.
LVG Seed Fund is investing in 510 Kardiac in 2018 to support the company’s efforts to obtain FDA approval for the device. Two years later, shortly after it was acquired by Keystone Heart, the company did just that.
In total, LVG’s investment strategy, focused on the university, attracted 18 union partners in the first six years of the fund and raised nearly $ 75 million through subsequent investments.