Co-founder and managing director Jay Schmelter has an eye for picking winning, early-stage, medical device opportunities. One of the central tenets of his approach is seeking technology that provides an effective solution to a high unmet medical need.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a disease characterized by elevated pressures in the leg veins. Signs and symptoms include leg swelling, pain, and open wounds (leg ulcers). Deep Vein Reflux (DVR) is one of a few underlying causes of CVI and involves the failure of venous valves in the legs, leading to poor blood flow back to the heart. It is estimated that about 6.5 million Americans have DVR and moderate to severe CVI. Currently, patients with this disorder have very few treatment options outside of compression socks, leg elevation and treatment of chronic ulcers that develop as the result of poor leg circulation. Venous leg and foot ulcers cost the U.S. health care system more than $15 billion annually or approximately 0.5% of all U.S. healthcare spending.
InterVene, a RiverVest portfolio company, has developed the first-ever endovascular device to address deep vein reflux that does not require an implant. The InterVene BlueLeaf Endovenous Valve Formation System mimics an open surgical procedure in which valve leaflets are formed from a thin layer of the vein wall with no implant left behind. The surgical procedure demonstrated significant clinical improvement and proved durable, but it is rarely performed due to its invasiveness and risk in patients with poor leg circulation and poor healing ability. Converting a successful open surgical procedure into a minimally-invasive procedure is a proven formula for commercial success.

RiverVest invested early, in the Series A round, when only product prototypes existed. Taking this early risk with a relatively small amount of capital allows RiverVest to scale its investment as the Company achieves technical and clinical milestones. Today, InterVene has successfully treated patients with positive clinical results past one year of follow-up.
Over the past few years, InterVene’s Founder, Fletcher Wilson, has made impressive progress to advance InterVene’s device towards a pivotal trial: 
  • Collecting promising first-in-human data to validate the approach
  • Approval from the FDA to conduct further clinical studies using its GEN 3 device with key design improvements
  • Strengthening the company with experienced team members, such as Chief Operating Officer Jeff Elkins 
Jay is a ‘same side of the table’ VC. He joined InterVene’s board 4 years ago, and I’ve thought of him as a partner ever since. When times are tough, he is collaborative in his support, always thinking about how WE—as a team—can increase the chances of success for everyone —from the patient to the employees to the investors. For me personally, Jay is a triple threat: a partner, a mentor and a friend. I always think of Jay and his savvy and supportive team at RiverVest whenever someone is raising money and looking for a new investor.
Fletcher Wilson, Founder
We were pleased that the attendees of the major interventional cardiovascular meeting, Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT), recognized InterVene as the 2019 Shark Tank Innovation Competition winner, underscoring the excitement surrounding a potential solution to the problems of deep vein insufficiency. We look forward to InterVene bringing BlueLeaf to patients in need.

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