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Innovative Trauma Care sets up U.S. HQ in San Antonio
August 31, 2012

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

San Antonio has notched another victory it its push to attract more bioscience companies.

Innovative Trauma Care (ITC), a Canadian-based company established two years ago, has selected the Alamo City as the site for its new U.S. headquarters.

That decision is expected to strengthen this region's reputation as a growing center for medical technology and trauma-related expertise. ITC founder Dennis Filips believes his company's expansion to San Antonio will trigger other economic wins for the Alamo City.

"The City of San Antonio has a strong focus on the biomedical industry," Filips says. "That certainly helped us narrow our selection."

ITC will maintain a presence in Canada, where it will continue to conduct research. But the company will house the bulk of its operations - including commercialization, marketing, logistics, regulatory and clinical-support activities - at its new San Antonio headquarters. And it will likely conduct some of its research in the Alamo City as well, according to Filips.

ITC was incorporated in 2010 and established in Edmonton, Alberta. Its initial product, the ITClamp, is designed to control bleeding until a wound can be surgically repaired.

ITC expects to employ roughly a dozen personnel in San Antonio by the end of the year. Filips says that number could more than quadruple within the first couple of years.

"There is a significant market for this product," says ITC Executive Chairman Phil Faris, formerly CEO of Vidacare Corp., a medical device company that is based in San Antonio. "We know how to access it."

That market, at least initially, includes North America and Europe. ITC officials believe there will be plenty of demand from hospital emergency departments, the emergency medical-services industry and the military for the ITClamp.

"The company estimates that its annual market opportunity at full adoption is about $800 million," Faris adds. "Over the first five years, (ITC) expects to penetrate somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent of that market."

Big-picture play
ITC's U.S. headquarters will be located at the San Antonio Technology Center, which is on Magic Drive near the South Texas Medical Center.

The company is in the process of completing its first round of private financing and expects to raise as much as $2.5 million. Filips anticipates that ITC will soon secure the clearance needed from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market its technology in this country. It expects to have similar approvals from Canada in the next 30 to 60 days and from Europe by December or January.

ITC could receive a $300,000 economic grant from the City of San Antonio to help cover some of the costs associated with establishing a U.S. headquarters. Company officials are awaiting approval from City Council for that grant.

Rene Dominguez, director of the city's Economic Development Department, says San Antonio could eventually leverage that grant into an equity stake in ITC.

"From a big-picture standpoint, we want to continue to invest in the companies that help us build out our commercialization infrastructure," Dominguez adds.

"We want to find those (projects and companies) that have high marks with leadership, market potential and intellectual property and lure them here."

Filips says San Antonio leaders have made it clear that they are serious in their desire to court more bioscience companies.

"There were a number of options throughout the U.S. But San Antonio's vision for the future is clear," Faris says. "It's invested in the biomedical sector and looking at actively supporting companies to grow that industry. That was a very important piece in terms of what we were looking for. San Antonio was the ideal place to locate."

Center of excellence
If San Antonio wants to separate itself from the pack, trauma may be the best route. "San Antonio is a center of excellence in both military and civilian trauma," Filips says. "It has an experienced workforce and great hospital trauma space."

"This (ITC) is a nice fit for us because of the trauma component," says Ed Davis, assistant director of the San Antonio's Economic Development Department.

Dominguez and Davis say BioMed SA President Ann Stevens played an instrumental role in helping to sell ITC on the Alamo City.

City officials believe the decision by ITC to establish a U.S. headquarters in the Alamo City could cause other bioscience companies to move into the market.

"I really do believe that this will create a lot of buzz about doing business in San Antonio," says Filips.

"There are a number of reasons why San Antonio made sense," Faris says. "I'm quite pleased that the city gave us the support. This will help San Antonio as it tries to build more critical mass with biomed and biotech companies."

That critical mass is essential if San Antonio wants to become a major player in the bioscience industry.

"The more of these companies that locate in San Antonio, are successful and bring in talent, (it) helps build up the infrastructure," Faris adds. "One of the key ingredients (of success) is capital. One of the other key ingredients is people. The more of these companies San Antonio can get, the more capital and people it will bring. That will help further the reputation that San Antonio is a good place for these kinds of companies."

ITC has not ruled out moving all of its operations to San Antonio at some point.

"It will depend on what makes the most sense for the company," Filips explains.

Innovative Trauma Care Established: 2010 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Founder: Dennis Filips

U.S. expansion: Company plans to establish a new U.S. headquarters in San Antonio

Local workforce: ITC expects to employ roughly a dozen personnel in the Alamo City by the end of the year and as many as 50 within the next couple of years.

 

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