Flow Forward Announces Spinout from Novita

Human Health published Thu, 2014-05-29 10:02

Flow Forward Medical, Inc., an early-stage medical device company focused on improving outcomes for hemodialysis patients through the rapid creation of high-quality vascular access sites, today announced that it has launched operations as an independent company at the Venture Accelerator in the Kansas Bioscience Park in Olathe. Flow Forward was initially founded in 2011 as a subsidiary of Novita Therapeutics, LLC, a privately held life sciences incubator.

"Flow Forward is focused on developing the AFE System, which has the potential to substantially increase the number of hemodialysis patients using an arteriovenous fistula (AVF), the gold standard in vascular access sites," said F. Nicholas Franano, MD, chief executive officer of Flow Forward. "Currently, many patients are unable to get a functional AVF due to inadequate vein size and poor vein maturation, and we believe our system can help overcome these problems."

Hemodialysis is a lifesaving treatment for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) that requires the patient to have a vascular access site. The preferred type of site for hemodialysis patients is an AVF, due to improved patient survival, reduced complications and hospitalization rates, and large reductions in the cost of care when compared with other forms of access. However, nearly half of U.S. hemodialysis patients do not currently use an AVF for vascular access, primarily due to inadequate vein diameter and high rates of AVF failure.

Flow Forward's Arteriovenous Fistula Eligibility (AFE) System™ is a small, temporary, minimally-invasive blood pump designed to rapidly dilate peripheral veins through flow-mediated dilation prior to AVF surgery.  Use of the AFE System could increase patient eligibility for AVF and improve success rates after AVF surgery. In a recent presentation at the American Society of Nephrology annual meeting, Flow Forward reported results of a small pilot nonclinical study showing vein dilation 20 times faster and a large reduction in vascular scar tissue formation during vein maturation, when compared with traditional AVF creation.

“This represents real innovation,” said Tom Krol, Managing Director at the Kansas Bioscience Authority and a Flow Forward investor and director, “with the potential to deliver benefits to patients that would not have previously been thought possible.” “Successful development and commercialization of the AFE System could begin to alleviate some of the enormous burden that vascular access failure places on patients, health care providers, and payers”, said Krol, “and that makes the work at Flow Forward both an important effort and an attractive investment for KBA.”


About Flow Forward Medical

Flow Forward is developing a novel approach to rapidly establish high-quality vascular access sites for hemodialysis. The AFE System is a small, temporary, external blood pump designed to stimulate flow-mediated dilation to make more patients eligible for an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) and increase success rates after surgery. Establishment of a reliable AVF reduces morbidity and mortality in hemodialysis patients, as well as the overall cost of care. For additional information, please visit www.flowforwardmedical.com.



Editorial: Restored state funding may be a vote of confidence

General published Thu, 2014-05-22 17:05

From the Lawrence Journal World:

“Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to veto plans to transfer $5 million earmarked for early childhood programs into the Kansas Bioscience Authority’s budget has drawn praise from children’s advocates across the state.

As it turns out, the veto not only was good news for childhood programs but also not-so-bad news for the KBA.

According to news reports, KBA still will get its $5 million, but that money will come from state reserves rather than from the Kansas Endowment for Youth Fund, which was created with revenue from the state’s tobacco settlement. The even better news is that the $5 million is just a portion of the $34 million in state funding approved this year for the KBA.

That’s about what KBA was receiving from the state for a number of years after its founding in 2004. However, funding for the agency created to promote the bioscience industry in Kansas had declined dramatically in recent years. KBA received only about $4 million in state funding for the current fiscal year.

The increased funding approved for the next fiscal year appears to be a vote of confidence in the new leadership and new direction of the KBA. Duane Cantrell took over as KBA’s chief executive officer in November 2012 and recently was rewarded with $150,000 in bonuses by the group’s board of directors. The bonuses were justified, the board said, by Cantrell’s success in meeting goals related to repositioning the agency in response to state budget cuts. Cantrell examined KBA investments and de-committed $59 million to companies that weren’t hitting their development goals. The plan was to move the KBA toward a more market-based and self-sustaining future as a venture capital organization.

Those efforts may have impressed state legislators. Taking more money from the state’s already strained reserves may not be desirable, but the additional $5 million is a good investment in the state’s bioscience efforts.

The additional state funding approved for next year will shore up KBA operations and help it make more investments that hopefully will assure its continued operation and success after state tax support sunsets in 2019.”

- Editorial, Lawrence Journal World, May 22, 2014


Kansas Bioscience Park

General published Wed, 2014-05-21 10:55

Brian Hamilton, Hoefer Wysocki Architecture’s Director of Urban Design & Planning, along with Mike Lanning and Brian Ward of Cassidy Turley, have been recruited to help find future tenants for the Kansas Bioscience Park. Forty-two acres of city-owned land are being offered to qualifying companies or developers for free within the campus. “We want to cultivate an environment with that entrepreneurship – that business acumen – and really work with individual entrepreneurs and investors in there in creating a world class state of the art environment,” Brian said. “In the end we think ultimately if this builds out this will be a dynamic piece for meaningful community building for not only the campus itself, but the community of Olathe in terms of spinoff development, hoteling, retailing, mixed-use and residential.”

The city has set up incentives such as a 55 percent ten-year tax abatement.


The Kansas Bioscience Authority is committed to boosting Olathe’s bioscience sector in the name of making Kansas a global destination for the industry.

Read the full article via MetroWireMedia here.


Keith Harrington named to 2014 Ingram's magazine 40 under Forty

General published Tue, 2014-05-20 14:53

"No assessment of Kansas’ emergence in the field of life sciences would be complete without recognizing the contribution made by the Kansas Bioscience Authority, which has committed $272 million to nearly 90 bioscience companies and institutions in the decade since it was formed. Its maturation has been marked by a move from a grant-making organization to a venture-funding model, and that’s where 39-year-old Keith Harrington has done his heavy lifting.

One of  KBA’S managing directors, Keith  previously served as a director of commercialization and played a key role in transforming the funding model. “I’ve been fortunate to play a part in the pivot toward a more focused venture-investment model,” he says. “I get to work with smart and talented people with big ideas and ambitions that are changing the way business is done in health care, agriculture and animal health.” A lot is riding on that success for the state; the average job created through KBA’s involvement pays more than $73,000—roughly twice the state’s average salary. “I’m passionate about fostering innovative companies in Kansas, and I thrive on helping entrepreneurs in any way I can,” says Harrington, who previously worked at Quintiles and Birch Telecom.

A single dad, he’s deeply involved in school and extracurricular activities for his 11-year-old son Jack, volunteering with him at Heart to Heart International, and he also works on behalf of various youth mentoring and entrepreneurship-development programs."


- Ingram's Magazine, April 2014