OTT30: 1st Start-up Acquisition

2015 marks the 30th anniversary for Emory OTT and part of that celebration includes a series of blog posts highlighting important “firsts” for the office. This month we highlight our first start-up to be acquired – Atrionix.

OTT30 Celebration GraphicAll startups share the same beginning – an idea, yet, of the many companies launched on good ideas, only a few experience success. Of Emory’s 72 start-ups only 9 have been acquired or merged. In 2000, the University’s own Atrionix became OTT’s first acquisition, when the company was acquired by Johnson & Johnson for $62.8 million. Co-founded by Jonathan Langberg, professor and director of cardiac electrophysiology for Emory Healthcare, Atrionix also became the first company to offer a complete line of products to diagnose and treat atrial fibrillation, a condition that affects more than 2.7 million Americans and more than 5 million people worldwide.

Atrial fibrillation is the most prevalent cardiac arrhythmia, which is when the heart’s two upper chambers quiver instead of beating properly. Atrial fibrillation causes the atria to not pump out blood completely, which could lead to pooling and clotting. Complications from atrial fibrillation could result in strokes.

Atrionix developed several patented cardiac ablation medical devices that eliminated the need for surgical intervention during the treatment of atrial fibrillation. These devices reduce patient morbidity and recovery time compared to surgical techniques. Cardiac devices developed from Atrionix reduce treatment times, trauma to the patient and cost to the healthcare system.

“It’s interesting to see the sometimes long and winding path for a technology to move from the university to a product on the market,” says Licensing Associate Panya Taysavang. “The Emory technology was originally licensed to Atrionix, which was acquired by Cordis Corporation, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, and further developed into the current Arctic Front® product by Biosense Webster, Inc., a subsidiary of Cordis Corporation.”