Ariste Medical, Co-Founded by Faculty Members of UTHSC, Receives $4.6 Million Investment for Development of Drug-Delivering Device

Dr. Lisa Jennings
Dr. Lisa Jennings

Hernia repair is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States. But the “open repair” with mesh implantation often required at the site carries a high risk of infection. Ariste Medical, a company founded by faculty members from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), is working to develop a drug-delivering mesh patch for use at the site of hernia repair to reduce the risk of infection.

Ariste Medical, founded in 2007 and located in Memphis, has received $4.6 million from an investor who wishes to remain anonymous to continue development of this innovative drug-delivering hernia mesh. The new investment will support product testing and regulatory filings for the mesh, as well as preparation for commercialization in the United States and Europe upon regulatory approval.

Ariste Medical was formed by UTHSC’s Timothy Fabian, MD, and Lisa Jennings, PhD, along with Brian Best, a leader in product development and commercialization. Dr. Fabian is the Harwell W. Wilson Alumni Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery at UTHSC. Dr. Jennings is a professor in the College of Medicine with joint appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering; Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry; and Surgery. She is also the founder of CirQuest Labs, a specialty contract research organization performing testing for studies conducted in the United States, Canada and Europe.

At Ariste Medical, Drs. Fabian and Jennings are developing implantable devices that deliver drugs to reduce the risk of common surgical complications that increase morbidity. Ariste exclusively licensed this technology from the University of Tennessee Research Foundation.

Dr. Tim Fabian
Dr. Tim Fabian

The company has been located at the Memphis Bioworks Foundation since 2012. In 2013, Ariste received initial seed funding of $1.27 million to support the pursuit of multiple patents, open a research lab, and develop new products and technology targeting clinical complications where infection, scar tissue formation or clotting is an ongoing challenge associated with implantable surgical devices.

“Ariste Medical is the first device company to our knowledge that has the technology to provide a programmable residence and release of an agent or drugs that can preserve the integrity of implantable medical devices composed of various materials such as polypropylene, polyurethane, ePTFE (Teflon) and other implantable materials,” Dr. Jennings said. Several implants are composed of ePTFE, but until Ariste technology, there has not been a satisfactory solution to create a product with the desirable drug delivery properties, she explained.

“We think our products, once approved, will make significant impact in the device industry,” Dr. Jennings said.