Ed. Note: Dallas Innovates teamed up with MassChallenge Texas to highlight entrepreneurs and their high-impact companies in the current Texas cohort. Find them here.
Tré Raymond Welch is on a mission to make sick babies with heart defects healthy.
As the CEO and Founder of his namesake Tremedics, Welch develops patented degradable stent technology to fill a gap related to congenital heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease affects more than 131 million people globally, and congenital heart disease, an abnormality in the heart that develops before birth, is prevalent in 944,000 patients in the U.S. Around 80,000 of those patients with congenital heart defects need stents in aortic coarctation and pulmonary artery stenosis, according to Welch.
That’s why he focuses on stents implanted by minimal invasive surgery for narrowed aortas, narrowed pulmonary arteries, and constricted airways.
The company does so by manufacturing IllusicorTM, a bioresorbable stent with unique coiling technology that permits it to accommodate an arterial vessel that’s 1.5mm to 20mm diameter in size. After implantation, the stent begins to degrade and resorb into the body, permitting the arterial vessel to grow with the patients, without the need for follow-up surgical procedures.
Welch founded Tremedics in 2015 because he believes IllusicorTM is a device that can benefit both children and adults. He operates out of North Richland Hills in Fort Worth and has entirely self-funded the business so far (though he’s currently seeking seed funding).
Currently, he’s a member of the TechFW incubator and VMS-NTX mentoring service at UT Southwestern. He’s also had a partnership with Numed to use its balloons with his stent technology and with Nelson Labs for safety studies.
Directly up next though is the MassChallenge Texas cohort. Welch hopes to couple the mentorship with funding to commercialize the stent in the future.
Learn more about Tremedics and what’s next in our Q+A with Welch below.
Give us a real-world example of Tremedics.
Coarctation of the aorta is a narrowing of the aorta that affects 2,000 children per year in the U.S. The current treatment option is primarily the use of endovascular stents as “off label medical devices” that are used to treat adult patients.
These are implanted into children and further surgeries are required to expand the stent as the child grows.
A real world case was one where a patient had a metal stent implanted into the pulmonary artery and within a year was back in the hospital. There were problems with the stent fracturing and the child did not survive.
These cases do not have to occur.
What would be success be for your business in the next year—and longer term?
Completing an Investigational Device Exemption or Humaitarian Device Exemption submission for clinical trial studies in pediatric patients. One long term goal is achieving a Device Exemption for human trials in adults for coronary artery disease.
What are you most proud of in terms of your startup?
The resilience of the company to move forward even though I am currently not revenue generating. I see many startups struggling to find investors to keep their companies moving forward for commercialization and finding customers to buy their products.
How do you expect that being accepted to the MassChallenge summer cohort can make a difference to your team?
MassChallenge can help with mentors and focusing on the go-to-market strategy to be successful in financial funding, and regulatory hurdles to overcome to commercialize IllusicorTM, our bioresorbable stent.
What opportunities do you see rising?
The bioresorbable stent technology is on the rise.
Tell us how your company might be able to help businesses or people right now, in the current, fast-changing environment?
Tremedics can help with engineering contract/prototyping work needed for other companies.
How is your team operating right now in these virtual times?
Currently we have one employee but plan to hire at least 1 more. My team is doing well. We talk by Zoom or phone conference calls.
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