U of M Licenses Technology to St. Paul Start-Up

Aria CV has licensed technology that was developed by former members of the U's Medical Devices Center Innovation Fellows Program to treat pulmonary hypertension.

Aria CV, Inc.-a St. Paul-based start-up-has licensed technology from the University of Minnesota to develop and commercialize a medical device for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension.

The technology was invented by four former fellows of the U of M's Medical Devices Center Innovation Fellows Program: John Scandurra, Karl Vollmers, Eric Little, and Christopher Scorzelli.

Scandurra serves as Aria's CEO, and Vollmers is the company's vice president of research and development. The company, which was founded in September, moved into the University Enterprises Laboratories research complex in St. Paul in November, according to Greg Lasalle, property manager of the complex.

“The patients whose lives we aim to improve are extremely sick and aren't being helped by presently available pharmacologic therapies,” Vollmers said in a statement. “There is a significant market and medical need to treat these patients.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pulmonary hypertension occurs when the blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries, which carry oxygen and blood from the heart to the lungs, is much higher than normal.

The disease affects men and women of all ages and racial and ethnic groups, but the majority of people who have the condition are older women, the CDC reports on its Web site.

The Medical Devices Center Innovation Fellows Program is a year-long, full-immersion educational and intellectual-property development program for medical devices at the U of M.

Since the program launched three years ago, its fellows have secured 32 provisional patents and one licensing agreement, and have launched two start-up companies.

“This is a great example of an innovative program that fosters collaboration across disciplines at the university,” Tim Mulcahy, the U of M's vice president for research, said in a statement. “The fact that this technology is moving rapidly to the point where it will benefit those who suffer from this disease is further evidence of the exceptional work being done in the fellows program.”