Manny Villafaña, Living Legend of Medicine, Entrepreneur
Sep 18, 2018
Manny Villifana (Joint Meeting)
Manny Villafaña, Living Legend of Medicine, Entrepreneur
Doors open 6:45 and at-table breakfast served 7:00
Meeting starts at 7:30 and finishes at 9:00

Manny Villafaña, a nationally recognized entrepreneur and medical device developer, was born in the South Bronx, New York in 1940, of poor Puerto Rican parents.

After beginning his medical career at Picker International, a medical device exporter, in White Plains, NY, he joined Medtronic in March 1967; at that time, Medtronic had annual sales of approximately $3-4million.

After being involved with not only the development of sales of the recently introduced MEDTRONIC pacemaker, he also helped develop the Latin American market by living in Argentina for a two-year period of time as their Latin American Sales Manager.

Returning to Minnesota, in 1972, he founded CPI/Guidant; and developed the first lithium powered pacemakers and defibrillators; this technology is incorporated in virtually every defibrillator and pacemaker in the world. This company was purchased by Boston Scientific for $27billion!

In 1976, he became the co-developer of the St. Jude heart valve and founder of ST. JUDE MEDICAL Inc. This is the most commonly use prosthesis in the world. There are over 3 million patients with this valve implanted! Abbott Medical of Chicago recently paid $30billion for St. Jude Medical.

Manny went on to develop several other companies, including ATS Medical in which he developed the new generation ATS heart valve, which is now part of Medtronic, Inc. through a purchase in 2010 of $400million.

Villafaña continues his work in revolutionizing cardiac surgery. His most recent effort, Medical 21, Inc., Plymouth, MN, the development of an artificial artery, promises to eliminate the harvesting of vessels from the patient during bypass CABG surgery. Currently, preclinical trials have begun, and if continued successfully, human trials will be pursued in early 2019. The potential market is bigger than the markets of pacemakers, heart valves, stents, and defibrillators COMBINED!

Manny has done seven (7) financial IPO’s; raising capital for his companies and charities over 45 different times.

Villafaña is globally recognized as the “Living Legend of Medicine“ an honor that was bestowed on him by The World Society of CardioThoracic Surgery, in 2006; is an award winning USA Master Entrepreneur; a member of the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame; inducted into MN Science and Technology Hall of Fame; recently honored by his hometown of The Bronx, New York by having a Street named “Dr. Manny Villafaña” Street;

The Halls of Fame of The Boys’ & Girls’ Club of America (Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club), Cardinal Hayes High School; and Medical Design Association Life Time Achievement Award and Minnesota Business Lifetime Award include Manny’s name.

For his work in the medical field, and his teaching lectures/efforts at Harvard, Universities of MN, Iowa, Notre Dame, Miami of Ohio, Stanford, Brown, St. Olaf, and others, Manny became a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Iowa.

Our Governor and previous Lt. Governor, Mark Dayton and Tina Smith proclaimed October 27th as “MANNY VILLAFAÑA’s DAY”

Along with his contributions to medtech, Villafaña is known for his philanthropic efforts, especially his generous gifts to the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, which he spent time at growing up.

Most of all, Manny recognizes and honors the many great teams of dedicated employees, doctors, scientists, financial advisors and, especially, the love and support of his wife of 35 years, Elizabeth Elder Villafaña of Mason City, Iowa; of his family of Manuela, Elisa, Michael, Jude and Ann Marie and his greater families of Blackwells, Keoughs, and Lyons. God has blessed Manny, for which he is very grateful.