(Feb. 25, 2014) -- -- Leto Solutions Inc., a San Antonio-based, early-stage medical device company founded by students at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), was honored at the Texas Life Science Forum as one of only 10 Rice Alliance Life Science Companies recognized for having the best business opportunity and promise for high-value commercialization. Fifty-five medical technology, biotech and pharma companies competed in the event on Thursday, Feb. 20 in Houston, Texas.
"We are very honored to receive this award and recognition from the Texas Life Science Forum," said Becky Ariana, CEO of Leto Solutions. "Leto Solutions was certainly one of the earliest stage companies participating in the event. This recognition, validation and exposure is extremely valuable as we continue our efforts to raise seed funding that will be used to commercialize our first product for below-the-knee amputees and design our above-the-knee system."
Leto Solutions is an early-stage medical device company based in San Antonio at the San Antonio Technology Center (SATC), focused on improving the comfort and quality of life for lower-limb amputees. Inspired by one of the company founders, Gary Walters, a U.S. Army veteran whose right leg was amputated due to injuries he sustained while serving in Iraq, the company's Aquilonix™ Prosthesis Cooling System solves a problem common to all lower-limb amputees: heat.
The heat that is generated and the sweat that accumulates at the site where the amputee's residual limb meets the socket of the prosthesis is intense, uncomfortable and frequently disrupts routine, daily activities. Serious and costly medical problems such as rash, blisters, skin ulcers and infections also can result. The Aquilonix System resolves these problems by thermoelectrically cooling and dissipating heat from the prosthetic socket.
Developed in 2013 by a team of UTSA engineering and business seniors who won first place at the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE) Student Technology Venture Competition, Leto Solutions has gained steady momentum since then.
Cory Hallam, director of CITE, said, "At UTSA we have infused an interdisciplinary culture of technology entrepreneurship amongst our students. Through boot camps, mentoring programs, academic course work, incubation and our $100K Student Technology Venture Competition, UTSA is the leading entrepreneurial institution in the region. Leto Solutions is a prime example of how UTSA challenges and supports young technology entrepreneurs to have the audacity to try and change the world, and this start up might just do that."
The third annual Texas Life Science Forum was hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, BioHouston and the Texas Healthcare and BioScience Institute at the BioScience Research Collaborative. Each company provided a five-minute business plan presentation. A group of investors, industry experts and business leaders from around the country reviewed the 55 presenting companies and selected 10, including Leto, as the "Rice Alliance Life Science Companies" for having the best business opportunity and promise for high value commercialization.
"This kind of recognition demonstrates the value being created by local institutions and life science companies as part of San Antonio's innovation ecosystem," said Ann Stevens, president of BioMed SA, which served as a community partner for the statewide forum. "Leto is one of the latest examples of San Antonio companies being recognized for bringing novel technology to market to address unmet medical needs."
"Every year the quality of companies improves," said Rice Alliance Managing Director Brad Burke, who announced the winners at the event. "This year we had a diversity of companies including rapid, in-office diagnosis of ENT illnesses to a catheter-based, minimally invasive heart pump for the treatment of chronic heart failure. As a group, the companies this year are further along which makes them more appealing to current investors, who have commented on the improved quality of the companies."
The event is the largest life science venture capital conference in the Southwest and featured more than 70 industry and investment speakers. Among the 600+ attendees were venture capitalists and other investors, entrepreneurs, industry representatives, business leaders and service providers.
About CITE and UTSA
CITE is an interdisciplinary center of the UTSA College of Business and College of Engineering that fosters the growth of entrepreneurs and new technology-based ventures through education, experiences, resources and support. Programs available include undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates for developing successful entrepreneurs.
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is an emerging Tier One research institution specializing in health, energy, security, sustainability, and human and social development. With nearly 29,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. UTSA advances knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. The university embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property -- for Texas, the nation and the world.
About the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship
The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship (Rice Alliance) is Rice University's flagship initiative devoted to the support of entrepreneurship. The mission of the Rice Alliance is to provide entrepreneurship education and to support the commercialization of technology innovations and the creation of new companies in the Texas and Houston region. Since inception in 1999, the Rice Alliance has assisted in the launch of over 225 new technology companies, which have raised more than $350 million in early stage funding. Of these, approximately 25 companies have been launched based on technology developed by Rice faculty and researchers and licensed from the Rice Office of Technology Transfer. Unique among many entrepreneurship centers, the Rice Alliance was formed as a strategic alliance of three schools at Rice University: the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management. In 2013, Rice University was recognized as #4 of the best graduate entrepreneurship programs in the U.S. by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.
BioHouston Inc. is a nonprofit corporation founded by Houston area academic/research institutions. They are leading a broad effort to establish the Houston region as a vigorous global competitor in life science and biotechnology commercialization. Its mission is to create an environment that will stimulate technology transfer and research commercialization, thereby generating economic wealth for the Houston region and making it a global competitor in life science commercialization.
BioHouston's activities provide the greatest leverage in making the Houston region a world-class competitor in the life science industry. Activities are designed to: CONVENE people and organizations that need to come together to make the life science industry in Houston ignite including scientists, intellectual property and product development experts, venture capitalists, pharmaceutical companies and others. COMMUNICATE and interact so that people and organizations can learn from one another, share information and explore opportunities. CATALYZE the discoveries and commercial development so that the true potential of the life science industry in Houston can be unlocked.
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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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