When John Slump’s sister was diagnosed with melanoma in 2006, he recognized some of the complex hazards and risks inherent to cancer treatment and started looking for ways to help.
“It never made sense to me that health care professionals who help people like my sister are getting cancer themselves just because they are exposed to drugs like chemotherapy,” said John Slump, chief financial officer of Corvida Medical.
Slump, 28, and Jared Garfield, 27, are co-founders of Corvida Medical, a medical device company with its headquarters in Coralville. The two young men initially conceived their business in 2006 when they were taking courses in the John Papajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the University of Iowa.
“My sister is my hero and she has been an inspirational force for me since the beginning,” Slump said. “The concept originated from her diagnosis.”
Slump and Garfield, Corvida Medical chief technology officer, realized that often, when administering chemotherapy, doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers are exposed to hazardous chemicals that can cause serious health issues for them and their patients.
The two entrepreneurs developed a closed-system drug transfer device that acts as a protective barrier when moving treatment chemicals from a vial to a syringe or from a syringe to an intravenous therapy bag.
“One of the things we did was better understand the shortcomings of other products that were out there,” Garfield said. “We asked medical professionals what they needed and the need was so prevalent we had to do something.”
Since 2006, Slump and Garfield have been raising money to establish and build their company. In the beginning, the partners won as much as $100,000 in business model contests and founded Corvida Medical in February 2008.
By 2009, they began to design the product so they could start engineering development in 2010.
“In 2011 we filed for a lot of patents,” Slump said. “Now, it’s a lot about manufacturing. In 2014, we anticipate getting Food and Drug Administration approval and starting commercialization.”
Corvida Medical has gained the attention and support of many funding sources. Most notably, the National Cancer Institute has provided over $1.75 million and the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board has approved over $1 million in non-diluted funds.
While they await regulatory approval, Garfield and Slump have a growing number of cancer centers nationwide interested and anticipating the release of the product.
“We can actually prevent cancer with this device,” Slump said. “I think that is one of our proudest accomplishments.”
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