IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In a move to develop medical devices faster, at a lower cost, and with a greater likelihood of a successful exit, Koa Accel today announced its launch as a next generation medical device accelerator. While mentorship and access to a modicum of business services is the cornerstone of most accelerators, Koa embeds an experienced team covering all of the critical areas of early stage medical device development. This allows Koa to fail fast or rapidly advance the venture as a de-risked startup.

Koa Accel is led by two entrepreneurial co-founders with complementary skillsets. Dr. Francis Duhay is a world renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and former corporate executive in the medical device industry, while Ray Chan brings extensive experience in venture capital and private equity financing. Dr. Duhay served as Chief Medical Officer for Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE: EW, market cap $40 billion), founded and ran several medical device start-ups (Aegis Surgical, Atrius, Kino Biosciences, Makani Science, and Microdermics), and is a former Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Cardiology at Kaiser Permanente. Mr. Chan is a successful entrepreneur, board member, and venture capitalist, who is currently serving as Chairman of medical device company Microdermics, Inc., Managing Director of K5 Ventures, and a member of the Investment Committee for Tech Coast Angels’ ACE Funds.

In addition to Duhay and Chan, the broader 40-plus members of the Koa team encompass over 750 years of medical device experience across the continuum, including intellectual property law, market research, upstream marketing, engineering, product development, regulatory and clinical affairs, health economics and reimbursement, project management, downstream marketing, manufacturing/operations, and commercialization.

Koa team members’ real world experiences were derived from industry leaders such as Agilent, Alcon, Beckman-Coulter, Cardinal Health, Edwards Lifesciences, Medtronic, St. Jude Medical and Thermo-Fischer; hundreds of start-ups; and premier academic centers such as Duke University, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of California Irvine, University of California Los Angeles, University of California San Francisco, and the University of Southern California.

“Koa Accel is committed to the advancement of medical devices and the tremendous benefits they confer on society. Yet, early stage medical device funding is faced with unprecedented headwinds,” said Dr. Duhay. “Investors today are often discouraged by the long payback period and high failure rates, often exceeding 90 percent. Importantly, these can be attributed to poor business execution, dysfunctional management, or both – not bad technology. By embedding an experienced team of business functional experts and managers into each portfolio company from the start, Koa intends to develop medical devices in less time and with significantly less investment than the traditional model. From the investors’ perspective, the outcome is a de-risked venture.”

“The Koa team is our secret weapon,” said Mr. Chan. “The problem is that medical device company founders often lack the business acumen, professional networks, and financial capital to assemble a large team of business functional experts. Koa provides a one-stop shop for everything they need. Think of it as the Navy SEAL team that is deployed and does all the heavy lifting. Our team is as invested in the startup success as the inventors and investors, with all parties having ‘skin in the game.’ At Koa, everybody’s interests are perfectly aligned to achieve the desired goal in a fraction of the time with limited investor dilution.”

The company’s first two portfolio companies are Makani Science, developer of the only wireless, wearable sensor designed to continuously monitor a patient’s breathing rate and pulmonary volumes during medical or dental procedures, and Microdermics, a platform technology enabling continuous monitoring of multiple analytes using microsensors the size of a mosquito’s proboscis.

Koa intends to accelerate one new medical device each quarter.

Inventors interested in applying to be a Koa company and investors looking to get involved in the venture can learn more at


Koa Accel ( is the next evolutionary step in medical device acceleration. Rather than “incubate” or ”accelerate” companies in the classic sense, Koa embeds an expert team experienced in every area of medical device development into its portfolio companies to work with founders. The process is designed to develop medical devices faster, at lower cost, with greater likelihood of a successful exit, while safeguarding investor equity. The company is based in Irvine, California.

Michelle McAdam
Chronic Communications, Inc.
(310) 902-1274