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University of Utah students win prize for novel catheter technology.

After hearing his aunt, a primary care nurse, tell stories of catheters causing clotting and infections, University of Utah bioengineering student Nate Rhodes decided to come up with a solution. Along with a few classmates, he developed a type of catheter that emits visible light killing bacteria to prevent infections from occurring.

Rhodes' team of bioengineering and medical students recently won first place and $75,000 at the International Business Model Competition hosted by Brigham Young University. The competition drew more than 2,500 teams from 200 schools representing 20 different countries.

The students created a startup company, Veritas Medical LLC, to develop the Light Line catheter, using high-intensity narrow spectrum light, which is known to kill bacteria without any harmful effects to human cells. They already have filed a utility patent on their technology and will complete laboratory testing later this year followed by clinical trials beginning next year.

"This competition was a huge validation for what we have created," said Rhodes, who received a master's in bioengineering from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City this spring. "We have come a long way since starting this project three years ago, and we hope to finish clinical trials by 2015 and begin selling our product by 2016."

Other members of the team include James Allen, a University of Utah bioengineering graduate; Mitch Barneck, another bioengineering graduate of the University of Utah currently in medical school at Oregon Health and Science University; Martin de La Presa, a University of Utah student doctor; and Ahrash Poursaid, who received a bachelor's degree in bioengineering from the university this spring.

Veritas Medical plans to use the $75,000 in winnings to support further product development and validation. It already has conducted successful laboratory tests of its product, and the company is steadily working toward U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance.

The students previously won more than $20,000 in cash prizes and grants through other student competitions at the university, including Bench to Bedside, a medical device competition; the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, a statewide business plan competition; and the Entrepreneur Club milestone funding program. They also received $1,000 from the Baylor New Venture Competition in Waco, Texas.

Veritas Medical has received substantial support and advising from the university's Department of Bioengineering, the Center for Medical Innovation and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.
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Title Annotation:Top of the News
Publication:Medical Product Outsourcing
Date:Jun 1, 2014
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