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Memphis VC-allied MB Innovations eyes medical-devices development
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Mike Sherman

MB Venture Partners' TNInvestco fund has created and invested $500,000 in MB Innovations, which will develop medical devices for commercialization by its industry partners.

The new company was registered in Tennessee shortly after Thanksgiving and initially will focus its efforts on supporting Spine Wave, a Connecticut-based early-stage device maker.

MBVP Partner Gary Stevenson also confirmed this morning that MBVP, per se, has now invested in Spine Wave, but he declined to say how much.

MBI immediately begins providing fee-based services to Spine Wave, Stevenson noted. In addition to monthly fees, MBI is eligible for downstream incentive payments.

The MBI initiative is reminiscent of other collaborations in the sector, including the creation earier this year of Device Innovation Group by Nashville's TriStar Technology Ventures.

Spine Wave Chief Technology Officer John Pafford said in his company's press release yesterday, in part, "We have already identified the initial product opportunities which will leverage Spine Wave’s intellectual property portfolio. I am confident that MBI will accelerate the pace at which we execute on our mission of delivering important and highly differentiated technologies to the spine surgeon community.”

Mike Sherman, an MBVP partner, will now also serve as executive chairman of MB Innovations and chairman of the startup's board, Sherman confirmed this morning. MB Innovations' website is not yet active at this link.

MBVP said in a related e-mail message to addressees in its business network, in part, "Over time, MBI will expand to include other fee-for-service clients.  But perhaps the most exciting opportunity is the creation of new technologies and intellectual property that will be the basis for new venture formation and job creation in Tennessee."

Sherman said in yesterday's Spine Wave release, "We are very excited to enter into this unique and highly collaborative arrangement.” He added, “MBI’s goal is to rapidly develop the next generation of novel spine products for Spine Wave as we build MBI into a significant entity capable of supporting multiple clients. The abundance of engineering talent in this area makes Memphis the ideal location for this type of company. Spine Wave is the ideal partner because they are committed to innovation and they are rapidly assembling the distribution network necessary to achieve commercial success.”

MBI's president will be Memphis-based Troy Drewry. Drewry was most recently VP-US operations for Paradigm Spine and earlier served with Active Implants Corporation. Still earlier in his career, he was in product development with Metronic Sofamore Danek, of which Sherman and Pafford are also alumni. Drewry earned his bachelor's and master's in mechanical and biomedical engineering at University of Louisiana-Lafayette and University of Memphis, respectively. He also holds a master's in engineering management from Christian Brothers University, according to his LinkedIn.

In February, Spine Wave raised $17.6 million in a debt-equity round led by incumbent PE New Enterprise Associates, accompanied by Morgenthaler Ventures, Compass Global Fund, New Leaf Venture Partners, Canaan Partners, Foundation Medical Partners and Memphis Implant Partners. The latter firm is not related to MBVP or its affiliates, Stevenson and Sherman told VNC this morning.

Sherman joined MBVP five years ago, after 15 years with Medtronic Sofamore Danek, where he was ultimately VP-technology development, with responsibilities for "responsible for technical and business due diligence on acquisitions, in-licensing activities, and strategic investments," according to his LinkedIn entry. Related products fell into the categories of spinal implants and instrumentation, minimally invasive spine surgery and flexible stabilization, says his profile.

Earlier, he was a senior product-development engineer with Smith & Nephew and, 1985-89, he was product-development engineer with Synthes USA, an early intrant in the field of implants.

During 1983-84, Sherman completed both his master's in biomedical engineering at the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center (Dallas) and his bachelor's at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, according to his profile. VNC 


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Tags: Brian Laden, debt equity, Device Innovation Group, Gary Stevenson, healthcare, MB Innovations, MB Venture Partners, Medical Device Innovations, medical devices, Medtronic Sofamore Danek, Mike Sherman, private equity, Spine Wave, TNInvestco, TriStar Technology Ventures, Troy Drewry, venture capital

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