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ATV Moves West Where the Devices Are

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Advanced Technology Ventures, is an example of a venture firm that got into health care investing by initially focusing on medical devices in 1986. In order to remain closely involved with device start-ups, ATV has beefed up its presence in the hub of device innovation, the San Francisco area.

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Biosensors International has not only developed a new stent, coating, and delivery technology in-house, but has also come up with its own drug, a rarity among small stent companies. Biosensors has adopted an aggressive dealmaking strategy much more akin to a large device or drug company, than a small firm. The result is that Biosensors has entered into alliances with big companies, including Guidant, and start-ups that have turned what until recently was a small interventional cardiology OEM company into one of the most innovative players in the drug-eluting stent market.

Emphasys Medical Inc.

In June 2000 The Foundry founded Emphasys Medical to develop a minimally invasive alternative to lung volume reduction surgery. As such, it became part of the avant garde in interventional pulmonology, a small group that also includes Spiration, Broncus Technologies, and Pulmonx.

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Plexxikon begins the drug discovery process by identifying lead molecules that loosely fit those protein folds, or domains, that are conserved among druggable protein families. These molecular scaffolds may serve repeatedly as a template for designing new chemical entities against a variety of druggable targets within that family. As the number of scaffolds and structural information about them increases, the efficiency of selecting the appropriate one for a given drug target should improve, reducing the time from a hit to an optimized drug lead.

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