Photo licensed from iStock

Photo licensed from iStock

Founder of Silicon Hills News

San Antonio has a long history of innovation when it comes to the biotechnology and the medical industry.

Dr. Julio Palmaz, then a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center invented the heart stent, which restaurateur Phil Romano later backed and they eventually sold it to Johnson & Johnson for about $500 million.

The city has had other successes in drug development, medical devices, and tissue and cell research companies and military medicine.

Most recently, Teleflex bought Vidacare last October for $285 million and Austin-based ArthoCare bought ENTrigue Surgical last June for $45 million in cash. And in February of this year, Smith & Nephew bought ArthoCare for $1.7 billion.

The sixth annual Emerging Medical Technology Symposium on April 1st, the day before the InnoTech San Antonio conference, seeks to put a spotlight on all of the medical and biotechnology innovation going on in South Texas, said Gabriele G. Niederauer, vice president of research and development for ArthroCare Corp. and chair of the symposium’s organizing committee.

“The whole goal of the meeting is to provide a venue for entrepreneurs in the medical technology space to network, learn and share their experiences to foster growth of future companies,” she said.

Of all the nationwide InnoTech conferences, San Antonio has the only one that offers a half-day focused just on medical entrepreneurs, she said.

More than 150 people are expected to attend the conference this year, Niederauer said. Registration costs just $54 and includes lunch, all presentations, an evening reception and access to InnoTech the following day.

The conference kicks off with a keynote address from Catherine “Cathy” Burzik, former president and CEO and a director of Kinetic Concepts in San Antonio. She is currently general partner at Targeted Technologies and serves as director on several public boards. She’s going to talk about building high performing teams that create value and ultimately create exit value for the company.

The symposium also features the second annual pitch competition. This year, eight companies will present before a panel of judges and angel and institutional investors. The winner will receive a $1,000 check from the Targeted Technology Fund and other perks.

The companies presenting include Claresta Solutions, TVA Medical, Leto Solutions, Wisewear, Chiron Health, StemBioSys, ClotFree and ENTvantage Dx. The judges include Jordan Kaufmann, president of Cardiovate and winner of the 2013 pitch competition, Mike Troy, CEO of FlashScan and Daniel R. Lee, CEO of Aperion Biologics Inc.

With the new Dell Medical School in Austin, this region will have even more biotechnology and medical startups. And the Targeted Technology fund, a venture capital fund focused on the biotechnology industry, is already raising its second fund, Niederauer said.