There are amazing things coming out of UofL’s Office of Research and Innovation. We spoke to Entrepreneur-in-Residence Jeff Cummins about one of the latest technologies to launch as a company.
LF: Tell us about how VCardio came to be.
Cummins: The VCardio company was developed out of the University of Louisville by mechanical engineering professor Dr. Eric Berson and cardiologist Dr. Shahab Ghafghazi. I am an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UofL’s Office of Research and Innovation, as is Josh Nickols.
Josh and I identified this technology and these inventors as a good potential opportunity. Along with Dr. Berson and Dr. Ghafghazi, Josh and I have been working together for the last year or so to continue to develop the technology and begin the commercialization process.
LF: What is the tech behind it?
Cummins: So what we are developing is a real-time non-invasive assessment of coronary stenosis. Coronary stenosis is when you have a blockage in a coronary artery and it won’t let the blood flow well enough. This causes a heart attack. The most common solution for that is to place a stent.
We have a software application that can use two flat angiograms to create a 3D model. We can then run computational fluid dynamics to provide binary guidance for interventional cardiologists to use in stent placement. It tells them whether you need a stent or you don’t need a stent. [Computational fluid dynamics is a branch of fluid mechanics that uses numerical analysis and data structures to analyze and solve problems that involve fluid flows.]
LF: What is the advantage of VCardio’s tech?
Cummins: It replaces an existing invasive, expensive and somewhat risky process called fractional flow reserve (FFR) that uses a wire to run through a catheter and then through the artery in question. This provides guidance to the cardiologist. Our application would fit seamlessly into the workflow to replace that process. The technology is faster, easier, cheaper, and less risky than the FFR procedure.
LF: How does the tech transfer process happen?
Cummins: So for the average person can go to the University of Louisville’s Tech Transfer office and talk to the technology managers who can tell you about developing technologies. It is Josh’s and my job (as well as Alice Shade the other Entrepreneur-in-Residence there) to act as part-time consultants. We help take the intellectual property from the university and commercialize it.
We are exposed to different technologies being Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. If someone has developed a technology and wants to continue their work, we facilitate introductions to those who can help them with funding. Sometimes we like an idea so much, we jump on it ourselves and start a company around it.
VCardio is currently seeking seed funding to acquire data and improve the speed and efficiency of our computational fluid dynamics modeling.