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CardioSpectra founders win UT System Chancellor’s award for entrepreneurship
March 17, 2010

San Antonio Business Journal

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa honored three professors within the system — including one in San Antonio — with the 2010 Chancellor’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Award.

Dr. Marc Feldman, associate professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, was one of three professors within the UT System to receive the award.

He and Tom Milner, the Marion E. Forsman Centennial Professor in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, were recognized for their development of a novel approach applied to cardiovascular imaging. They developed a technology to help cardiologists provide better treatment to patients suffering from coronary artery disease.

This approach, called optical coherence tomography (or OCT), can identify diseased regions of coronary arteries. Once these areas of the heart are identified, attending physicians can place stents in arteries or perform other treatments.

Feldman and Milner co-founded CardioSpectra as a spin-off company from the technology developed at the UT System and raised $5 million, including a $1 million Texas Emerging Technology Fund grant. CardioSpectra was acquired by Volcano Corp. in 2007, resulting in an immediate 500 percent return on the team’s investment. A return of 1,200 percent could still be possible if certain milestones are completed in the future.

The third professor to win the award was Borje Andersson, assistant professor in the department of Stem Cell Transplantion - Division of Cancer Medicine at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Andersson is the lead inventor of the intravenous formulation of Busulfan, a chemotherapy drug with an agent that slows the growth of cancer cells. The IV formulation of Busulfan is credited with changing the standard of care for stem-cell transplantation and greatly improving patient care.

To date, Busulfan has received regulatory approval for use in chemotherapy preceding stem cell transplantation in a total of 45 countries, with the regulatory authorities in three more countries allowing controlled access to the drug. In 2008, worldwide sales of Busulfan were approximately $40 million with a royalty sharing benefit to M.D. Anderson that is used to fund continued research.

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa says he is proud of the work done by the professors.

“These outstanding faculty members have earned the gratitude of thousands of patients who have benefitted from their innovative research and our admiration for the honor and recognition they bring to the UT System,” Cigarroa says. “We are very proud of their work and the remarkable improvements these advances have made to patient care.”

The University of Texas System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems with nine academic campuses and six health institutions.

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