August 22, 2018


Duke start-up InnaVasc develops “bullet-proof” graft

InnAVasc Medical, Inc. is a medical device company founded by Duke University surgeons and scientists, which designs and develops products for vascular access for hemodialysis.

The company’s first technology is an arteriovenous graft (AVG) modification that incorporates two multilayer cannulation chambers, with low bleed technology, that are resistant to posterior and sidewall needle penetration and injury.


Shawn Gage, a Duke physician assistant (PA), and former Duke vascular surgeon Jeffrey Lawson, M.D., Ph.D. were constantly working with complications stemming from accidental needle penetration during cannulation and leaking grafts due to multiple punctures in the graft tubing, such as thrombosis, infection, and hematomas.


Startup with President Price
The 1st Annual Celebration, Invented at Duke: Celebrating Invention, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, at Washington Duke Inn. Hosted by Duke OTC and Duke I&E, #InventedatDuke

Frustrated with the recurrent issues, Gage and Lawson came up with the idea of a multi-layered graft that would self-seal after puncture and resist a needle accidentally puncturing through to the bottom or out the sides.


After developing a prototype, they took their idea to the Office of Licensing & Ventures where they met with a licensing specialist who reviewed their idea and helped them file a patent.  Through Duke New Ventures, they helped them establish the start-up InnAVasc, and introduced them to Duke Alum and biomedical device start-up expert, Joe Knight.  Knight took on the role of CEO and has secured over $5 million in funding.


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