More questions are being raised about the research and financial activities of Palmaz Scientific, the bankrupt medical device company founded by Julio Palmaz, the co-inventor of the stent.
In the middle of severe financial troubles that eventually brought the company to bankruptcy Palmaz Scientific found enough money to invest in a venture capital fund.
The VC Fund, Triventures, is a California- and Israel-based company co-founded by Martin Leon, the influential Columbia University interventional cardiologist, who is best known for being the founder of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) and its wildly successful interventional cardiology meeting, TCT. According to its website, Triventures has raised $130 million.
As I previously reported, Palmaz Scientific declared bankruptcy earlier this year and is being sued and investigated on numerous fronts. Financial problems were already evident last year when, on August 18, 2015, the San Antonio Express-News reported that the company was seeking additional capital to avoid bankruptcy.
But the company’s troubles didn’t prevent it from wiring a substantial sum to Triventures. On June 24, 2015 Palmaz Scientific wired $84,000 to Triventures. Overall, Palmaz Scientific invested more than $443,000 in a Triventures fund. (See pages 2 and 89 of the Palmaz Scientific bankruptcy filing.)
Palmaz Scientific has additional links to Martin Leon’s CRF. Juan Granada, a Columbia University cardiologist, is the Chief Innovation Officer of the CRF’s Skirball Center for Innovation. At last year’s TCT2015 meeting Granada presented initial results from the first in human study involving a grooved stent. The slides make no mention of the company behind the stent or how the study was funded, but earlier research involving Granada with the grooved stent was funded by Palmaz Scientific. There is also no record of the first-in-human study on ClinicalTrials.Gov.
I have invited but have not received responses from Martin Leon, Juan Granada, Julio Palmaz, and the president of Triventures. I will be happy to update this story with their responses.