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Join us for what is sure to be a fascinating presentation by Manny Villafaña, an internationally recognized entrepreneur and medical device developer.

His companies have revolutionized cardiac surgery and improved the lives of millions of people, will share insights from his career—and will focus on what it takes to succeed in commercializing technologies and inventions.

Manny’s biography is a tale of a rough start in the South Bronx to become the founder of several successful medical device companies, including St. Jude Medical (now a key component of Abbott), Cardiac Pacemakers (now a key component of Boston Scientific) and ATS Medical (now a key component of Medtronic) in addition to several other companies that went public. 

After beginning his medical career with the medical device exporter Picker International, Villafaña joined Medtronic in 1967 and became the company’s first international sales administrator. In the early 1970s, he found.ed Cardiac Pacemakers Inc, which pioneered the first lithium-powered pacemakers and defibrillators—technology that is incorporated into virtually every pacemaker and defibrillator in the world. In 1976, he established St. Jude Medical Inc., which developed a mechanical heart valve that continues to dominate the market.

Villafaña has established other successful medical technology companies over the past several decades. His most recent startup, Medical 21 Inc., is focused on the development of an artificial artery that would spark a major advancement in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery.


3:00 – 3:30 pm:    Arrivals & networking

4:30 – 5:30 pm:   Networking reception

UConn Innovation & Investment Series — a sequence of events in which industry leaders share advice and expertise on investment, research and business best practices with the UConn community.