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VOL. 131 | NO. 20 | Thursday, January 28, 2016

Medical Startup Trades Texas for Germantown

By Andy Meek

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David Leon’s medical device startup is the latest addition to a rapidly expanding health care, biotech and life sciences landscape in the Memphis area.

DAVID LEON

His company, based in Dallas, is Trocar Sweep LLC, the name referring to both its flagship surgical device product as well as to a surgical procedure.

The company is at something of a critical growth stage, in the process of securing funding as well as preparing to expand its product line.

Leon, the company’s CEO, lives in the Memphis area, one reason for the relocation. He says the startup also has caught the eye of several Tennessee-based investors in addition to having other ties to the region, such as customers like Summit Medical Center in Nashville, which the company announced last month.

Those reasons, coupled with Memphis’ industry assets – like the presence of venture capital, collection of other established players and startups and the city’s entrepreneurship programs and accelerators – are what Leon said led to an inescapable conclusion.

“The ecosystem here is very robust, so it’s just all making sense,” Leon said about the company’s move of its operations to the EPIcenter organization’s collaborative work and business space in Germantown.

In November, the company announced the closing of a second round of investment comprised of existing seed investors. Leon said Trocar Sweep is in the process of working to close out a final round of funding to fully commercialize its product.

At that point, the hope is to move the whole company to the Memphis area.

The company’s Trocar Sweep device is used to quickly and thoroughly remove fluid and debris that accumulates on a probe surgeons insert into the abdomen during procedures. The company says product benefits include decreases in operating times.

Leon says the company’s current plans include expanding the product line to make larger versions of the device, to close its last round of funding and to expand the business to international markets.

“We’re going to expand our product sizes and officially launch them on June 1 of this year,” Leon said. “We had a limited, one-size product, and we’re expanding that. We also hope to secure distribution or licensing with another medical device company.”

The company today, he added, is the result of about five years of work, including years spent on the intellectual property side of the business.

“There’s a lot of activity in this space,” he said. “The top two medical companies in the world both have products in this space. What we saw was an opportunity to carve out a portion of that, and we’re hoping to scale up the business.”

The EPIcenter organization last month announced the Germantown presence in the Carrefour at Kirby Woods shopping center, where Trocar Sweep now operates. EPIcenter president Leslie Lynn Smith said it was meant to do exactly what it did for Leon’s company: provide a cost-effective work environment that encourages the growth of startups and other small ventures.

Other assets in the area like that which Leon singled out for encouraging the company’s coming here include things like the ZeroTo510 medical device startup accelerator; the Memphis Bioworks organization; and the Innova venture capital firm, among others.

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