Duke Angel Network Announces First Portfolio Exit

The Duke Angel Network is pleased to announce the first exit within its portfolio.

Vertera Spine, an Atlanta-based medical device company that became part of the Duke Angel Network portfolio in 2015, has been acquired by leading medical device company NuVasive.

Vertera Spine, which was co-founded by Ken Gall, chair of Duke University’s department of engineering and materials science, is addressing the unmet clinical need for improved spinal fusion solutions by developing and commercializing fusion devices using patented porous surface technology. The company has developed a state-of-the-art technology that unites the clinical benefits of PEEK (a common polymer that has been used in spinal implant devices for over a decade) and pore-structured materials. The result is PEEK Scoria™, a proprietary processing method and technology that seamlessly integrates a porous surface with the solid bulk material without compromising the mechanical integrity of the material itself.

“The support of Duke I&E including the Duke Angel Network has been absolutely amazing,” Gall said. “They provided both capital investment and key guidance during the last two years of Vertera’s growth in to the spine market. We are extremely fortunate at Duke to have this incredible resource for faculty, students, and alumni entrepreneurs.”

Vertera Spine was the fourth company to receive capital from the Duke Angel Network.

“We were honored to be a part of the Vertera success,” said John Glushik, managing director of the Duke Angel Network. “The Duke Angel Network provided both capital and guidance in support of a great Vertera team. The results of this investment help validate our ability to support Duke entrepreneurs while producing great returns. In less than two years, this investment produced liquidity and a nice payback for our members.”

The Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative launched the Duke Angel Network in 2015 to help connect Duke-affiliated entrepreneurs from around the country with angel investors who can offer funding and expertise to help startups grow. To date, the Duke Angel Network has grown to more than 110 members, evaluated well over 300 companies and invested $6.1 million in 16 companies.