A Proven Team

The Medical 21 team is led by Manny Villafaña.  Manny has a substantial track record starting companies that develop and deliver successful products to the market.

  • Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. (CPI) revolutionized the pacemaker industry by introducing a long-life lithium iodine pacemaker, a technology still used today by 100% of the pacemaker/defibrillator market.  CPI is now owned by Boston Scientific.

  • St. Jude Medical developed an innovative, mechanical, bi-leaflet heart valve that dramatically reduced the frequency of blood clots.  St. Jude is now part of Abbott Medical.

  • ATS Medical further evolved the mechanical heart valve, introducing an open-pivot design and capturing a strong share of the market.  ATS is now owned by Medtronic.


As a result, Manny has received numerous awards of recognition, including:

Chaid Schwarz, Ph.D.
Biomaterials Scientist
  • Research at the University of Iowa:

       - Medical Devices

       - Cardiovascular Biomechanics

       - Biomaterial Development

       - Mechanical Assessment of Soft Tissues

  • Former Process Engineer at 3M.

  • Expert in the pre-clinical development of bypass grafts.

  • Accomplished pre-clinical surgeon.

  • Extensive experience in the application of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) quality controls and methodologies.

  • Served as Associate Director of cardiovascular research laboratory (ESS) at the University of Minnesota.

  • Medical device experience with roles in:

       - Manufacturing

       - Operations

       - Process Development

       - R&D

       - Quality

  • Deep medical/technical experience with nitinol support systems.

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