SYNDAVER NEWS

SynDaver featured in Science Magazine – Science Insider

Story by John Travis

 This story is a bonus online element for the package on science entrepreneurship that appears in the 12 June issue of Science.
Last month, millions of people watching ABC’s prime-time television show Shark Tank learned what Christopher Sakezles says his wife already knew—that he can sweat a lot when nervous. Despite a perspiration-drenched presentation on 8 May in front of the show’s five celebrity investors—he ignored his wife’s suggestion to spray his face with antiperspirant—the polymer scientist landed the biggest deal in Shark Tank’s history.
With a life-size synthetic cadaver as a prop, Sakezles persuaded technology entrepreneur Robert Herjavec to pay $3 million for a 25% stake in SynDaver Labs, a firm that Sakezles founded a decade ago to create realistic artificial tissues, organs, and whole bodies for surgical training and other purposes.
But as fans of Shark Tank know well, not every deal struck on the show lasts once the cameras turn off. After Sakezles and Herjavec traded further information and initial terms, the partnership fell apart.
One sticking point was obvious on the show, as the investors challenged Sakezles’s plan to invest SynDaver’s immediate profits back into the company for further product development. “They wanted to replace me as CEO and this is not something I will allow at this point,” Sakezles says. (Herjavec doesn’t comment on deals that aren’t completed, one of his publicists says.)
Don’t feel sorry for Sakezles, however. SynDaver is on track to make $10 million this year, he says, adding that the company has lined up investors who place an even higher valuation on the company than Herjavec did. Sakezles predicts SynDaver will expand from its current 100 employees to 500 within 3 years. “We’re growing like wildfire.”
The company’s history traces back to the 1990s, when Sakezles, a graduate student at University of Florida, set out to evaluate a new endotracheal tube his lab had designed. The team couldn’t afford to test it on animals, so they bought an artificial trachea from an outside company. Sakezles recalls it as being little more than a plastic tube.
“It was a pure piece of crap. I took one look and threw it in the circular file. I had to essentially build my own model.” So he and colleagues crafted a trachea from multiple polymers, realistically simulating cartilage rings, muscles, and a mucosal layer.After getting his Ph.D. in 1998, Sakezles eventually began consulting for medical device firms. He found they were interested in his experience building realistic models of tissues and organs. “The company grew out of that. It wasn’t a burst of lightning. It was a gradual thing. I never thought of it as a standalone business.”
Sakezles did eventually write a business plan for a synthetic tissues company that he pitched to potential investors. He failed miserably, he says. “Everyone thought I was insane. I’m a terrible pitchman. I’m the scientist. I’m the tech guy.”
But Sakezles was able to scramble together money from friends, family, and his own bank account to push ahead with the company.He started developing tissue analogs first, only later moving onto organs and then whole bodies. The company now markets some 100 artificial body parts made from materials that mimic the mechanical, thermal, and physicochemical properties of live tissue and can replace the use of animals or human cadavers. Medical device companies, medical schools interested in surgical training, and companies doing ballistic tests are just some of SynDaver’s customers. “I proved the naysayers wrong. There definitely is a market,” Sakezles says.And although he may not personally be a great salesman, his company’s artificial cadavers—the flagship model costs about $40,000—have been a boon for publicity.
SynDaver’s products have popped up in many TV shows, including Grey’s Anatomy and MythBusters. Sakezles, who notes Shark Tank’s producers deftly edited his more than 2 hours with the investors panel into just a 10-minute segment, says he went on the show truly looking to land an investment partner. He specifically wanted Herjavec or Mark Cuban, another shark who specializes in technology. But he admits publicity for the company was also a major motivation. “From the exposure side, we knocked it out of the park,” Sakezles says.
synjoshSynDaver featured in Science Magazine – Science Insider
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Florida company hires personnel to build both synthetic, human bodies

SynDaver FitnessTAMPA, Fla. – A Tampa company that specializes in building synthetic humans hired their first employee who will focus solely on working with real human bodies this week.

On Monday, SynDaver Labs hired Patrick Mazzocco as their director of health and wellness.

Mazzocco, a 32-year-old Air Force veteran, is an International Sports Sciences Association certified master trainer and also a certified Level 1 CrossFit trainer.

“We decided to bring Patrick on because we truly want the best for our employees,” said Dr. Christopher Sakezles, founder of SynDaver Labs. “By allowing people the opportunity to take care of their physical fitness needs at work, we figure we can improve their work and personal life balance.”

SynDaver employees can sign up to participate in one, 30 minute class during each paid work day. Currently, employees can choose from classes in yoga and therapeutic form, nutrition, cross-training cardio and fitness, and a running club. In the future, SynDaver plans to build an octagon and offer classes in self-defense and mixed-martial arts.

As an ISSA master trainer, Mazzocco holds certifications in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition, personal training, senior fitness, strength and conditioning, and youth fitness.

Mazzocco came to Tampa from his hometown of Chicago when he was stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in 2007. While he was with the Air Force, Mazzocco deployed eight times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He served as a Phoenix Raven team member. According to the Air Force, Phoenix Ravens are responsible for maintaining the security of aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or additional security is needed to counter local threats.

Mazzocco was honorably discharged in 2013. He is married and is expecting a baby girl with his wife Kristina in September.

About SynDaver Labs
SynDaver Labs manufactures synthetic humans for training in schools, hospitals and military installations. SynDaver has the world’s largest database of live-tissue properties and all SynDaver tissues are made from water, salts, and fibers. The company currently has 10 patents on these materials, processes, and related products. SynDaver Labs is headquartered in Tampa, Florida and employs more than 100 people. The company also has an advanced research facility located in Phoenix, Arizona and is planning additional facilities in the U.S., China, Europe, and Latin America.

For media inquiries and interview requests, contact our Tampa public relations firm at (813) 279-8335 or contact@judgepr.com.

synjoshFlorida company hires personnel to build both synthetic, human bodies
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SynDaver featured on Huffington Post

SynDaver on Huff Post

Click the image to see the full article.

Synthetic Cadavers Offer An Equally Creepy Alternative To The Real Thing

Posted: Updated:

As long as there have been medical schools, medical students have been dissecting dead bodies to learn the finer points of human anatomy. But now there’s a high-tech twist to this gruesome rite of passage, with artificial cadavers going toe-to-toe with the real thing.

One artificial cadaver, made by SynDaver Labs of Tampa Bay, Fla. has been in the spotlight recently because it was featured on the popular ABC show “Shark Tank.”

(Story continues below.)

An early prototype of the SynDaver synthetic human patient.

SynDaver’s life-size “Synthetic Human,” costs upward of $40,000 and is made of synthetic “tissue” that shares certain physical and even chemical properties with real flesh — including water, fiber and salt content, according to the company’s website. The cadaver contains hundreds of replaceable muscles, bones, organs, and vessels. Some models can even simulate bleeding and breathing.

Cadavers on campus. Some schools have explored using synthetic cadavers in their curricula, since the real ones are in limited supply.

“Many smaller colleges and universities cannot afford a full cadaver lab, and this model, which closely approximates a real cadaver, is very cost effective and on the cutting-edge of the way we can teach anatomy to our students,” Kevin McDade, an instructor of biology at Penn State University, said in a written statement when the cadaver was purchased by the university in January.

Nothing like the real thing. But other professors have their doubts about the value of artificial cadavers.

“While synthetic cadavers or digital models can be useful for review, they are inadequate for learning anatomy,” Dr. Paulette Bernd, professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, told The Huffington Post in an email, adding that of 55 U.S. medical schools that participated in a 2013 survey, all continued to use real cadavers.

So maybe synthetic cadavers will catch on in a big way — or maybe they won’t. But no matter how you slice it, they certainly aren’t the kind of thing we’d like to cuddle up with.

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More jobs coming after celebrity investor offers $3 million for stake in Tampa business

  SHARK TANK – “Episode 625″ – A scientist from Tampa, FL invented a very life-like, synthetic human cadaver that will make medical testing more effective; two friends from Seattle, WA hope the Sharks won’t turn their idea to make personalized super hero action figures into a super zero; three ladies from Philadelphia, PA have an affordable online service to help you quickly achieve a high-end interior room design; and two men from Commerce Township, MI hope the Sharks will invest in their sunscreen full-body misting device. Also, an update on Judy Edwards and her son, Bobby Edwards from St. George, UT, who invented the Squatty Potty, a healthier way to get things moving along when you do your business in the bathroom, that Barbara Corcoran invested in during Season 6, on “Shark Tank” airing FRIDAY, MAY 8 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Michael Desmond) DR. CHRISTOPHER SAKEZLES (SYNDAVER LABS), ROBERT HERJAVEC


SHARK TANK – “Episode 625″ – A scientist from Tampa, FL invented a very life-like, synthetic human cadaver that will make medical testing more effective; two friends from Seattle, WA hope the Sharks won’t turn their idea to make personalized super hero action figures into a super zero; three ladies from Philadelphia, PA have an affordable online service to help you quickly achieve a high-end interior room design; and two men from Commerce Township, MI hope the Sharks will invest in their sunscreen full-body misting device. Also, an update on Judy Edwards and her son, Bobby Edwards from St. George, UT, who invented the Squatty Potty, a healthier way to get things moving along when you do your business in the bathroom, that Barbara Corcoran invested in during Season 6, on “Shark Tank” airing FRIDAY, MAY 8 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Michael Desmond)
DR. CHRISTOPHER SAKEZLES (SYNDAVER LABS), ROBERT HERJAVEC

TAMPA, Fla. – Celebrity investor and businessman, Robert Herjavec, offered $3 million to Dr. Christopher Sakezles, a Tampa scientist, for a stake in his Tampa-based company, SynDaver Labs, Friday on the television show Shark Tank.

Sakezles accepted the offer on national television and plans for the new partnership are being finalized.

SynDaver is currently hiring, and over the next few years, Sakezles plans on creating more than 500 jobs in Tampa, where the company is headquartered, and Phoenix, where the company has an advanced research facility.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome of the Shark Tank appearance,” said Sakezles. “We were able to secure exactly what we were looking for and what we needed to continue our growth.”

Sakezles, a Tampa-native, founded SynDaver Labs in 2004 when he needed to test medical devices he was developing, but didn’t have funding for the required animal studies. As a result, SynDaver Labs was born.

Every product or procedure designed to be used on humans is required by the Food and Drug Administration or the Consumer Product Safety Commission to be proven safe and effective via simulated use testing. SynDaver’s Synthetic Human is an ethical and cost-effective way to get this done.

“This is obviously good not only for ethical reasons, but also because avoiding animal use saves a great deal of time and money,” said Sakezles. “So, I started designing synthetic organs to test devices and over time they became very elaborate.”

According to Sakezles, the SynDaver Synthetic Human is the most sophisticated hands-on surgical simulator ever devised. It bleeds, breathes and even the pupils dilate when they are exposed to light.

“We are the only company in the world that makes synthetic cadavers,” Sakezles says. “And all other anatomical models on the market are made from plastic or rubber, while ours are made from a proprietary library of more than 100 synthetic human tissues.”

The SynDaver Synthetic Human is used primarily for surgical simulation, medical training, and medical device development testing.

The model includes skin with fat and fascia planes, all bones, muscles, tendon and ligaments, fully articulating joints, a functioning respiratory system with trachea, lungs and diaphragm, complete digestive tract from esophagus to rectum, urinary tract with kidneys, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen and reproductive organs. A functioning circulatory system with heart, coronaries, aorta, vena cava and vasculature to the extremities is also included.

The system works with all known imaging equipment, including CT, MRI, fluoroscopy and ultrasound, and all known surgical systems – even those that employ energy such as lasers.

A base model is scheduled to be released soon, which will cost approximately $25,000, while the ultra-high-end Synthetic Human Patient currently retails for around $100,000.

About SynDaver Labs
SynDaver has the world’s largest database of live-tissue properties and all SynDaver tissues are made from water, salts, and fibers. The company currently has 10 patents on these materials, processes, and related products. SynDaver Labs is headquartered in Tampa, Florida and employs more than 100 people. The company also has an advanced research facility located in Phoenix, Arizona and is planning additional facilities in the U.S., China, Europe, and Latin America.

For media inquiries and interview requests, contact our Tampa public relations firm at (813) 279-8335 or contact@judgepr.com.

###

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Video: University of Northern Iowa purchases synthetic cadavers

CEDAR FALLS — If you can’t get a corpse, get the next best thing. That was the thinking behind the University of Northern Iowa’s recent purchase of four synthetic cadavers.

The units are called SynDavers, made by a Florida-based lab with the same name. The synthetic corpses are made of a rubberlike material that resembles the feel of human tissues.

About a month ago UNI bought four SynDavers with $150,000 in grant money to better teach human anatomy courses. Teachers said they were sick of students having to dissect cats.

“It’s good to get the dissection experience, but the cut doesn’t really mimic the complexity or the size you deal with human cadavers,” said Dr. David Saunders, head of UNI’s Biology Department.

Saunders said the school had nowhere to store actual cadavers, so the SynDavers were the next best choice.

Each unit has the right number of bones and organs. Plus, like a real cadaver, they can be examined and cut apart.

“The muscles are flexible. You can move those out of the way,” said Saunders. “They can see how they’re interacting with other muscles, where the nerves and blood vessels are.”

The examined body parts can then be replaced with new pieces, stitched back in and made ready for the next student. Teachers can even order abnormal body parts.

“Like an aortic aneurysm for instance,” said Mary McDade, UNI anatomy instructor. “We can order that and we can put it in the SynDaver. Then when students are doing their dissection and exploration, they’ll be able to find this abnormality. Then another won’t have it. They can compare normal to abnormal.”

UNI purchased the more basic SynDaver models. Upgraded versions go for $100,000 apiece and mimic living humans. They’re designed for medical research and have functioning synthetic organs. They can even bleed and breathe.

Students in summer anatomy courses will be the first to use UNI’s models.

If you want to know more about SynDavers, the Tampa Bay company will appear on ABC’s Shark Tank this Friday, 7 p.m. central time.

synjoshVideo: University of Northern Iowa purchases synthetic cadavers
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SynDaver Labs to be featured on Shark Tank

TAMPA, Fla. – The scientist who started SynDaver Labs, a Tampa-based company specializing in the production of synthetic cadavers for medical research, is scheduled to be on ABC’s Shark Tank May 8.

While the show’s outcome cannot be discussed quite yet, the product can.

Dr. Christopher Sakezles, a Tampa-native, founded SynDaver Labs in 2004 when he needed to test medical devices he was developing, but didn’t have funding for the required animal studies. As a result, SynDaver Labs was born.

Every product or procedure designed to be used on humans is required by the Food and Drug Administration or the Consumer Product Safety Commission to be proven safe and effective via simulated use testing. SynDaver’s Synthetic Human is an ethical and cost-effective way to get this done.

“This is obviously good not only for ethical reasons, but also because avoiding animal use saves a great deal of time and money,” said Sakezles. “So, I started designing synthetic organs to test devices and over time they became very elaborate.”

According to Sakezles, the SynDaver Synthetic Human is the most sophisticated hands-on surgical simulator ever devised. It bleeds, breathes and even the pupils dilate when they are exposed to light.

“We are the only company in the world that makes synthetic cadavers,” Sakezles says. “And all other anatomical models on the market are made from plastic or rubber, while ours are made from a proprietary library of more than 100 synthetic human tissues.”

The SynDaver Synthetic Human is used primarily for surgical simulation, medical training, and medical device development testing.

The model includes skin with fat and fascia planes, all bones, muscles, tendon and ligaments, fully articulating joints, a functioning respiratory system with trachea, lungs and diaphragm, complete digestive tract from esophagus to rectum, urinary tract with kidneys, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen and reproductive organs. A functioning circulatory system with heart, coronaries, aorta, vena cava and vasculature to the extremities is also included.

The system works with all known imaging equipment, including CT, MRI, fluoroscopy and ultrasound, and all known surgical systems – even those that employ energy such as lasers.

A base model is scheduled to be released soon, which will cost approximately $25,000, while the ultra-high-end Synthetic Human Patient currently retails for around $100,000.

About SynDaver Labs
SynDaver has the world’s largest database of live-tissue properties and all SynDaver tissues are made from water, salts, and fibers. The company currently has 10 patents on these materials, processes, and related products. SynDaver Labs is headquartered in Tampa, Florida and employs more than 100 people. The company also has an advanced research facility located in Phoenix, Arizona and is planning additional facilities in the U.S., China, Europe, and Latin America.

For media inquiries and interview requests, contact our Tampa PR firm at (813) 279-8335 or contact@judgepr.com.

Photos below are provided for media use. Please credit SynDaver Labs.

synjoshSynDaver Labs to be featured on Shark Tank
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Penn State University Purchases SynDaver Models

1/12/2015 —

Her name is Synthia, and she’s approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 125 pounds. Synthia is the newest addition to Penn State Shenango and its Biology Department. Shenango students became acquainted with her this fall while working in their anatomy course labs.

“Synthia is our new, female SynDaver™ model,” said Instructor in Biology Diane Kuharsky. “She, as we refer to it, was purchased by the campus to provide our students with the most authentic feel and look to a real cadaver. It is the perfect learning alternative to dissecting real animals—it’s more accurate and a wonderful tool for our anatomy students.”

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synjoshPenn State University Purchases SynDaver Models
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Synthetic Death at the University of Northern Iowa

The University of Northern Iowa’s biology department will soon be able to enhance hands-on experience with synthetic cadavers.

The biology department will receive the four specimens in coffin-sized packages filled with seawater spring semester; after that, biology students will no longer dissect cat cadavers as part of their learning in the biology program.

 

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synjoshSynthetic Death at the University of Northern Iowa
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Central New Mexico CC Gets Synthetic Cadavers

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Students at Central New Mexico Community College have learned about the human body from cadavers for years. Now those cadavers have been replaced by synthetic, but very realistic cadavers.

CNM received two synthetic cadavers, running at about $50,000 each, from the company SynDaver Labs this summer. Before the synthetic cadavers, CNM’s anatomy and physiology classes would go through six to eight cadavers a year.

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synjoshCentral New Mexico CC Gets Synthetic Cadavers
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Cindy, the User-Friendly Cadaver

Mark Danley carefully pulls on a pair of latex gloves, then uncovers the lifeless adult female form on the table. He folds back the two flaps of her severed chest, exposing the heart, lungs and other internal organs.

For just a moment, a slightly sharp chemical odor drifts from the body. Four young women look on, saying little, seemingly transfixed by the view inside the human body.

“We actually have to open up her chest like she’s having cardiac surgery,” Danley tells them.

But the woman on the table, Cindy, is not having surgery. In fact, she has never even been alive. She is an artificial cadaver, all 100 pounds of her – muscles and organs, tendons and teeth, blood vessels and bones. She was manufactured solely to take the place of the real thing in a human anatomy lab at the Central New Mexico Community College, where Danley is a biology instructor.

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synjoshCindy, the User-Friendly Cadaver
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