InnAVasc Medical Acquired by Multinational Company Gore

InnAVasc logo

Durham-based InnAVasc Medical, a medical device company that received early funding from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, has been acquired by W. L. Gore & Associates, a global material science company perhaps best known for its Gore-Tex brand of water-proof fabric for outer wear and footwear.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the two privately held companies.

With the acquisition, Gore’s Medical Products Division will gain ownership of InnAVasc’s arteriovenous graft, a device designed for patients with end-stage renal disease who use graft circuits for dialysis treatment.  

The InnAVasc graft device
The InnAVasc graft device. -- InnAVasc photo 

“The addition of InnAVasc’s investigational technology bolsters our continued ambition to improve patients’ lives by offering physicians innovative treatment solutions within the dialysis access space,” said Eric Zacharias, leader of Gore’s Medical Products Division. “We are excited about InnAVasc’s unique technology and its potential to advance patient care for those with end stage renal disease. This acquisition reinforces Gore’s commitment to innovation and desire to be strong partners in advancing treatments for these patients.” 

The InnAVasc graft was developed by Jeffrey Lawson, M.D., Ph.D., and Shawn Gage, PA-C, at Duke University School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery. The colleagues wanted to protect their patients at Duke Hospital from needle-related injuries and the resultant bleeding complications commonly seen among hemodialysis patients in their vascular surgery clinic.

Sean Gage
Sean Gage.

The duo knew there had to be a way to prevent these types of graft complications, and in February 2010 they conceived an idea for a better graft.

“After a case one day, over lunch in the cafeteria, we literally drew it on a napkin," Gage recalled in a 2019 interview with the Biotech Center.

InnAVasc Medical was spun out of Duke in 2013 to develop the device, and the company received two loans totaling $750,000 from the Biotech Center to support its work.

“We are delighted to have supported InnAVasc’s efforts to develop this life-changing technology for dialysis patients,” said Greta Brunet, senior director of investments for NCBiotech.

Better access for dialysis

The InnAVasc graft is intended to provide safe, easy, reproducible, and durable access for dialysis treatment of patients with graft circuits.

“To be stuck with two needles three times a week for hemodialysis for 52 weeks, that's 312 times a needle goes into a patient’s graft each year,” said Stephen Hohmann, M.D., a vascular surgeon at Texas Vascular Associates. “So having a graft that has the ability to decrease risk potential and long-term injury is definitely something that would be a game changer.”

The InnAVasc graft is an investigational device not yet approved for commercial use. It is undergoing clinical trials.

The graft is designed to protect against backwall punctures and reduce the damage from frequent needle sticks that occur over the lifespan of a dialysis graft.  

“Backwall punctures and damage due to excessive needling are painful and can cause unwanted bleeding, delay or stoppage of treatment, and reduced graft durability,” said Prabir Roy-Chaudhury, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the University of North Carolina. “I greatly appreciate how this technology is intended to be so patient-centric, addressing this important interface need, for both clinicians and home caregivers.” 

‘Array of synergies with Gore’

Joseph Knight, Ph.D., MBA, chief executive officer of InnAVasc, said his company sees “an array of synergies working with Gore,” a company that “is well recognized for its advanced material capabilities.”

Gore has a long history of designing graft solutions including the GORE PROPATEN and GORE ACUSEAL Vascular Grafts, used in dialysis access procedures today, “and we are excited to collaborate on future innovations,” Knight said. “Together we aspire to significantly advance patient outcomes and improve dialysis treatment for patients with end-stage renal disease.” 

Gore engineers medical devices that treat a range of cardiovascular and other health conditions. More than 50 million of its medical devices have been implanted over a half century.

Gore, headquartered in Newark, Del., has more than 12,000 employees worldwide and $4.5 billion in annual revenue. It was founded in 1958.

The company has a diverse range of nearly 200 products across 15 industries including the life sciences.

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
scroll back to top of page