Medtech Legend's New Endeavor:

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Manny VillafañaOne of the most prolific and successful entrepreneurs in the medical device space, Dr. Manny Villafaña, is at it again with a new startup.

Villafaña, the founder of Guidant and St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ), among others, said today that his latest venture – Medical 21 – is looking to develop an alternative to harvesting blood vessels for coronary artery bypass graft surgeries.

Medical 21, using technology from the University of Iowa, is developing artificial blood vessels using cellulose and an external support made of nitinol, a medical device “shape memory” alloy of nickel and titanium, Villafaña revealed for the 1st time today at the MD&M East conference in New York City.

Villafaña, attending the event to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, said Medical 21 aims to avoid the scarring and complications that can result from harvesting native blood vessels for bypass procedures. He said he is undaunted by failure – his last medical device startup, Kips Bay Medical, folded last year after the failure of a feasibility trial of its eSVS mesh external saphenous vein graft support – because risking nothing returns nothing.

“I’m not done yet,” Villafaña said, noting that devices made by his company have helped millions of patients.

“There is no satisfaction greater than that,” he said.

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