UVA LVG Supports Local Biotech Company in their 9th Investment

Direct Spinal Therapeutics, Inc., a local biotech company spun out of the University of Virginia, and a CvilleBioHub member, has earned the ninth investment from UVA Licensing and Ventures Group Seed Fund. The investment was announced by UVA LVG for undisclosed terms in the alumni-led startup. Direct Spinal Therapeutics (DSTI) is developing a spinal cord stimulation product to enhance treatment for chronic back pain and other spinal cord injuries. Its technology is based on collaborative research and joint intellectual property from the UVA and the University of Iowa.

DSTI’s goal with UVA LVG’s investment is to advance its product development and support regulatory and intellectual property work in advance of a pre-submission meeting with the FDA. Bob Creeden, managing director of UVA LVG Seed Fund, speaks highly of the novel, innovative company, stating “the expertise and leadership on the DSTI management team offer an unparalleled advantage for the novel IP2 technology.” In support of LVG’s decision, he states “this investment epitomizes our goal to advance UVA-developed research discoveries and supports a company headquartered in our community, with co-founders who have deep ties to UVA.”

The company was co-founded in 2013 by two engineering and neurosurgery scientists whose expertise lied in translational research and the medical device industry. Both founders graduated as students from UVA. Geroge Gilles works for UVA as a research professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering. An inventor and fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, his impressive list of patents extends to 30 in the U.S. Matthew Howard III is chairman of the University of Iowa’s Department of Neurosurgery. He is an expert in human neurophysiology with 24 patents and is greatly supported by the NIH. DSTI’s CEO, Daniel O’Connell, worked in early-state biotech venture for two decades, focusing on university startups.

DSTI raised over $1 million in funding at its launch in 2014, with $140,000 from the Iowa Growth Fund. It is the seventh company to join the UVA LVG Seed Fund portfolio. Before receiving this investment, the startup made two deals respectively in BrightSpec’s Series B financing round and a follow-on investment in TearSolutions in support of its clinical trials.

For the full article, view the original press release by RichmondInno here.

About UVA LVG– “Founded in 1977 as a 501(c)(3), UVA-associated organization, the investment group has a mission of maximizing the impact of the university’s innovation assets. It receives about 200 invention disclosures, executes 80 commercial transactions and launches five to seven new companies each year.”