Alumni Highlight: Artio Medical & Euphrates Vascular

Two successful companies, Artio Medical, and Euphrates Vascular have their roots in the entrepreneurial spirit and biochemistry background of Sean Morris. Morris started his career in the medical device industry through sales and eventually went on to become a serial entrepreneur. He is best known as the founder of Veniti, which was later acquired by Boston Scientific.

The Journey of Artio Medical and Euphrates Vascular

In 2018, Morris became the CEO of Artio Medical and continues to play a consultant and board role for Euphrates Vascular, formerly known as Pulse Therapeutics. The company had a pivot prior to becoming Euphrates Vascular and received continued support from OSF Ventures. Morris highlights the importance of networking but mentions that service providers are not always helpful in finding the right match for investors. He believes in building local ecosystems in areas such as St. Louis, Kansas City, and the surrounding areas to bring in capital and connect with the coasts.

Morris also recognizes the significance of successful individuals in helping the community become successful. He mentions the value of super angel groups and organizations such as InvestMidwest, RiverVest, and Biogenerator, in bringing local presence and capital. Morris believes that to be successful, one must communicate and be honest and responsible while tapping resources and aiming for the best possible milestones.

Veniti, Morris' first venture, was a success and sold to Boston Scientific, delivering a good return for investors. He learned from his experience and founded Artio Medical and Euphrates Vascular, which were created through a merger of Pulse Therapeutics and ICHOR Vascular. Morris met the founder, Rogers Ritter, through conversations with vascular surgeons and Ph.D. metallurgists, who helped him identify the unmet need for a better venous stent.

Euphrates Vascular develops medical devices that treat vascular occlusions related to vascular disease using the Magnetically-Enhanced Diffusion system. This system uses patented magnet-based technology to transport iron-oxide MED MicroBeads and clot-busting drugs at a much faster rate, enabling doctors to improve care for stroke and other diseases. In June 2021, the company raised $6 million in funding.

One of the biggest lessons Morris learned was the importance of focus. He mentions how his previous venture Veniti had multiple products, but only one of them reached an exit, wasting time and money on the others. He emphasizes the importance of scrutinizing every dollar raised and proving the market, which can be expensive. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Euphrates Vascular achieved FDA approval for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke in 2022 and became a stable company.

The Future

For 2023, Morris sees challenges and milestones ahead for Euphrates Vascular, including expanding its platform technology and solving other problems in the medical device industry. The company is in a good spot, and Morris has stepped down from his role as CEO to take on a new challenge.

Morris' background in biochemistry and experience in the medical device industry has enabled him to be a successful entrepreneur and contribute to the success of Artio Medical and Euphrates Vascular. His focus, communication skills, and determination have been key to his success and the success of his companies.