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Catheter that emits bacteria-killing light wins $75,000 for Utah team

Published May 27, 2014 9:37 am

Health care • Business competition winnings now up to nearly $100K for U. startup.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A student startup from the University of Utah has racked up another business competition win, netting $75,000 to develop and market a bacteria-killing catheter.

That brings the company's total business competition winnings to nearly $100,000, money the team of students and graduates plans to use to continue to develop the Light Line Catheter, which uses high-intensity narrow spectrum light considered harmless to human cells to kill bacteria and prevent infection.

U. bioengineering master's degree student Nate Rhodes came up with the idea about three years ago after hearing his aunt, a nurse, tell stories about clotting and infections caused by the thin tubes used to drain urine or other substances from the body. Catheters are responsible for about 40 percent of hospital-acquired infections. The Light Line product is now being tested in the lab, and Rhodes hopes to have it for sale by 2016.

The startup company Rhodes created with other U. students, Veritas Medical LLC, has already won more than $21,000 in cash prizes and grants from student entrepreneur and medical device competitions at the U. and in Texas, according to a university statement.

The latest $75,000 win comes from International Business Model Competition hosted by Brigham Young University, which drew more than 2,500 teams from 200 schools around the world.

"This competition was a huge validation for what we have created," Rhodes, who graduated this spring, said in a statement.

Other U. bioengineering and medical students and graduates on the project include James Allen, Mitch Barneck, Martin de La Presa and Ahrash Poursaid.

lwhitehurst@sltrib.com

Twitter: @lwhitehurstv