CORALVILLE — A medical device developer founded by two University of Iowa graduates has received a major grant from the National Cancer Institute.
The three-year Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, which could total $2 million, will fund Corvida Medical’s efforts to commercialize a series of medical devices it has developed. The devices protect health care workers and patients from toxic exposure to chemotherapy drugs.
John Slump, chief financial officer and co-founder of Corvida Medical, said the company will use the SBIR grant to offset the costs of receiving U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and to conduct practice trials. Corvida Medical has received commitments from more than 15 institutional cancer centers to test the devices next year.
Corvida Medical received a $500,000 commercialization funding award in May from the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Program. The funding enabled the company to add top health care experts to its management team.
Corvida Medical, located in the Technology Innovation Center at the University of Iowa Research Park in Coralville, also has received financial support from a number of private investors.
Slump and Jared Garfield formed Corvida Medical as J&J Solutions when they were undergraduate students in the John Pappajohn entrepreneurial program. In a 2010 interview, Slump said the need for such a device became apparent to both of them from personal experience.
“A few years ago, my sister was diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer,” he said. “We began researching the administration of chemotherapy drugs and discovered that health care workers were being exposed to the medications and getting cancer themselves.
“We found infertility, miscarriages, birth defects and organ failures were other health risks of exposure. We put together a business plan for our protective device and won some $100,000 in state and national business plan competitions.”
Slump credited the mentoring assistance of the Entrepreneurial Development Center in Cedar Rapids for enabling the company to move forward in the costly process of bringing a new medical device to the market.
“We’re very excited about this,” Slump said. “We are passionately committed to making cancer care safe for health care workers.”