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.