Tag: Leto Solutions

Leto Solutions Launches IndieGoGo Campaign to Produce Cooling System for Amputees

Leto Solutions Team Members Gary Walters, Becky Ariana and Justin Stultz, photos courtesy of Leto Solutions

Leto Solutions Team Members Gary Walters, Becky Ariana and Justin Stultz, photos courtesy of Leto Solutions

Founder of Silicon Hills News

While the South Texas heat makes most people sweat, the heat and sweat can be particularly unbearable and dangerous for amputees with prosthetic limbs.

“Amputees everywhere have heat related issues,” said Kirk Simendinger, a prosthetist with Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions in San Antonio.

“When skin reaches elevated temperatures and perspires, that trapped sweat between the limb and the prosthetic device can cause tissue to soften and break down and become susceptible to friction damage, blisters, skin ulcers and infections,” Simendinger said.

“There’s nothing out there on the market right now that combats the overall temperature inside a socket environment,” he said.

Healthcare workers often tell amputees to use antiperspirant, talcum powder and absorbent socks to solve the problem.

But Leto Solutions, an early-stage startup spun out of the University of Texas at San Antonio, has the high-tech solution to solve the problem for countless amputees, said Becky Ariana, the company’s CEO. Leto’s team of four engineers created the Aquilonix Prosthesis Cooling System. Leto’s lightweight thermoelectric cooling device fits into the socket of the prosthetic limb and runs on a five-hour battery which can be turned on or off by the wearer.

“There is a real need for this that has not been tackled until now,” Simendinger said.

Leto Solutions created a prototype of the Aquilonix Prosthesis Cooling System and is currently raising a $2.5 million seed stage round to take the product to market, Ariana said. The company also launched an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign last Friday. Already, it has raised more than $6,000 from 24 funders towards its goal of $98,000.

Ariana joined Leto Solutions in January of 2013 after serving as the company’s mentor at UTSA. Ariana previously worked at Vidacare Corp., which created and manufactured the EZ-IO, a drill-like device to provide medical professionals the ability to quickly access the vascular system to deliver medicine, blood and intravenous fluids. Ariana served as Vice President at Vidacare, with responsibility for the OnControl Bone Marrow Biopsy System, which won the 2012 Wall Street Journal’s Technology Innovations Award. Teleflex Inc. bought Vidacare last year for $285 million.
“I’ve always been fortunate in being involved in products that make a difference for patients,” Ariana said. “This is certainly one of those products. It’s hard to believe that up until now no one has addressed this problem for amputees.”

The initial funding will allow Leto to get through the Food and Drug Administration clearance process for its class one medical device and to commercialize the first product, Ariana said. It will also help to fund the development of its second product for above the knee amputees, she said.

Leto plans to contract for manufacturing locally with Coastal Life Technologies, the same company that manufactured Vidacare’s device.

Already, Leto Solutions has met with success. The startup and its eight-member student team won the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship 100K Student Venture Competition in 2013. Earlier this year, ABC News ran a story for their “Second Tour” series, which featured the company and one of its founders.

In February, the Texas Life Science Forum honored Leto as one of ten Rice Alliance Life Science Companies for having the best business opportunity and promise for high-value commercialization.
Leto solutions identified a problem in the marketplace and came up with a solution that is needed, said Anita Leffel, assistant director of the Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship. Those are the best kind of startups, she said.

IMG_0006Gary Walters, a retired U.S. Army Sergeant, came up with the idea for the product. Walters lost his lower right leg during a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq. He now wears a prosthetic limb. But he suffered from intense heat and sweat build-up at the point where his limb met the socket interface for his prosthetic limb. The problem became extremely uncomfortable when he did chores outside or played with his daughter. The pain and discomfort from heat and sweat build up interfered with his ability to lead an active life. So he challenged his team to design a system that would resolve the problem.

They came up with the Aquilonix System and Walters has tested the product with great results so far, Ariana said.

“At a time when so many advances are being made with bionic arms and other prosthetics, it’s amazing someone has not addressed this problem,” Ariana said.

Leto’s device is going to be very sought out, Simendinger said.

“I think that people who wear prosthesis nowadays are showing others they can do anything they want to do – they can run, hike, ride a bike,” Simendinger said. “This device is going to take that to a new level really.”

Editor’s Note: This article appears in the current print edition of Silicon Hills News on the Life Sciences Industry in Central Texas.

ENTvantage Diagnostics of Austin Wins the Emerging Medical Technology Symposium’s Pitch Competition

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IMG_2722ENTvantage Diagnostics won the Emerging Medical Technology Symposium’s pitch competition on Tuesday afternoon.

“ENTvantage Diagnostics provides primary care and ENT physicians with critical information on the causes of ear, nose and throat illnesses,” said Joseph Skraba, its CEO.

The Austin-based company’s first product is a test its developing that can detect bacterial sinusitis. The test is similar to a strep throat test administered in the doctor’s office, Skraba said. The test will be able to help a doctor confirm a case of bacterial sinusitis that requires antibiotics to cure.

Right now, no such test exists.

Doctors must diagnose a patient with bacterial sinusitis based on symptoms, which are similar to cases of viral sinusitis. As a result, doctors often over prescribe antibiotics to their patients. About 30 million patients annually are diagnosed with sinusitis and 90 percent of all cases are viral and not bacterial, Skraba said.

ENTVantage Diagnostics’s $15 test would dramatically cut down on prescriptions for antibiotics and give patients a more accurate diagnosis of their condition. Skraba estimates it will take three years to get the test to the market.

The company is looking to raise a $1 million seed stage round to complete its initial product, a class two medical device, Skraba said. It received a $1,000 check from the Targeted Technology Fund as the winner of the pitch competition.

The runner up, Claresta Solutions, won six months worth of office space at the San Antonio Technology Center. But since Claresta Solutions already had an office, it gave up the prize to Leto Solutions, which is based at the center, so it gets six months of free rent.

Altogether, eight startups delivered five-minute pitches to a panel of judges. The other startups included Wisewear, StemBioSys, TVA Medical, Chiron Health and ClotFree.

Jerry Wilmink, CEO of Austin-based Wisewear, pitched a wearable health device to monitor fitness including heart rate and motion detection. Its sensor is a sticky patch that affixes to the chest and it sends its data to a cell phone.

Somer Baburek, CEO and founder of Claresta Solutions, came up with a better labor fetal monitor after a difficult labor with her daughter. She spent 26 hours in labor and had an emergency C-Section. But the monitor kept setting off alarms and required constant adjustment by the nurses throughout her labor. She left the hospital thinking there must be a better solution. She came up with it. Her device is based on an electrical system and is 90 percent accurate, she said. Most labor monitors are currently Doppler devices that are only 75 percent accurate, she said. The company is currently seeking $250,000 in seed stage funding to create a working prototype of its device.

IMG_2713The sixth annual Emerging Medical Technology Symposium took place the day before the InnoTech San Antonio conference, which kicks off Wednesday morning at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio.

The event was a big success, said Gabriele G. Niederauer, vice president of research and development for ArthoCare Corp. and chair of the symposium’s organizing committee.

One of the big themes that kept coming up again and again throughout the day was the importance of having a good team behind the startup, she said.

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