“Protect the patient from the doctor,” is the philosophy that reigns over many of the projects designed by Manuel Parente, President and one of the founding partners of Conic Vascular, a biomedical technology business initiative that develops and produces radiology and cardiology products from its Bertamiráns head-quarters (A Coruña).


in Switzerland where it markets its products. Its star in the market is the conic balloon, a minuscule catheter of barely three millimetres in diameter for the vascular system which permits coronary dilation without the need for open heart by-pass surgery. The catheter is introduced into the coronary system through the patient’s wrist or groin.

This conic balloon designed by Conic Vascular adjusts to the physiognomy of the artery which is a logical adaptation that few had considered. In two years of work, they have improved the first prototype developed in Zurich in 1994 with the introduction of materials such as nylon and with the capacity to adapt exactly to the artery. Today, the product is distributed from Sweden to 57 countries, becoming first in Spanish for its quality and price with respect to its competitors. The rest of the market includes countries such as Italy, Greece, Brazil, Egypt, or Iran. A few months ago, they began conversations with Uruguay concerning conic balloon distribution in Latin America.

The two products of Conic Vascular have been patented at the international level although the company’s innovation does not end there. “We would not be able to survive eternally with two patents,” the President recognised while he enumerated pending projects. Some 80% are still part of the challenges established by the company at its initiation in 2008.

In collaboration with the capital risk entity XesGalicia, this company based in Galicia now has eight new patents and "five of them are revolutionary" according to Manuel Parente. The projects range from the design of a catheter that will avoid the drying of the tear ducts to the manufacture of a paediatric sten –a small metal tube that expands within the artery in order to prevent closure– for newborn babies with arterial deformations. Until now, this pathology required open heart surgery and the insertion of an implant that would have to be replaced as the person grew. This solution that Conic Vascular is developing will grow as does the patient; in this way, the child will only have to undergo one intervention. “We have the guarantee that this product will not break for 10 years but we want to reach 20 years. At that time, the product will then be marketed,” Parente explained.

The Conic Vascular team are also thinking about a specific solution with relation to the hearts of diabetics. “Their arterial systems have a higher temperature and they cannot be treated in the same way as other patients,” Parente added. The company objective is to develop a balloon full of a cold contrast liquid in order to eliminate the muscular cells that have increased in weight as the cholesterol has accumulated in them.

If there is no innovation, there is no future. success is defined as being able to di!erentiate oneself, in being special in the field in which we develop our products. The problem of companies is that when they earn a profit, they do not reinvest that money and for that reason, they are left behind”. Manuel Parente.


Advances in the field of medical instrumentation have led the company to ally itself with a Miami company to which they loan the conic balloon in order to look for solutions in cases of cerebral strokes. In the interior, the balloon will have an optical fibre that emits a light which dispenses nitrous oxide at the same time; this is able to eliminate the thrombosis. Manuel Parente goes further and thinks about “taking advantage of the experience in order to see if it is possible to apply in the heart as well.”

Parente is a good example of an innovative businessperson. His work in the multinational, Schneider World Wide (with its headquarters in Switzerland/USA), in Bolton Medical, Inc. of New Jersey and Miami, and in Boston Scientific Ireland/USA, three world reference centres in the production of cardiovascular technology and cardiac surgery, has opened the doors to numerous international projects. Moreover, thanks to EU support, they collaborate with the Universities of Barcelona and Valladolid on a project with an Italian company.

The Galician Institute for Economic Promotion (IGAPE) and the Ministry of Industry have granted financing of 1.8 million Euros for a laboratory in Cedeira (A Coruña) where the company will continue to perfect its products and develop the raw materials that are now being acquired outside of Spain. Fourteen job positions, all of them for women, will be incorporated into the new company, an extension of Conic Vascular.

“We all produce, develop, and innovate at the same time.” Parente is clear about the importance of research to which he hopes to dedicate 80% of the company’s resources. He has achieved the situation that his conic balloon has a rejection percentage of 1% in Spain, 5% in Switzerland, and 11% in Germany; numbers that are unthinkable for many of his competitors.

The personnel of the Bertamirans headquarters have learned all of the assembly process for the conic balloon. In this way, “everyone is capable of doing it.” Once the pieces reach their destinations all around the world, the mounting, assembly, and design carry the Galician stamp. The assembly of each one of the balloons can be accomplished in 17 minutes. In spite of the fact that more than 70 companies are dedicated to finding solutions for arteries, Conic Vascular is part of a group of eight small and medium-sized companies that have captured 20% of the world market. Parente’s company is among the firt five of the small companies in the ranking of international sales.

“Without innovation, we could survive for two years,” Parente recognised. Conscious that survival implies research, he has paid special attention to the handle of the conic balloon, thinking about the number of female cardiologists as well as the Chinese market. “Women can only be treated by female cardiologists and they have smaller hands; we adapt to the physician,” he commented.

This Industrial Engineer with a Master’s degree in plastics has known how to incorporate the knowledge that he has acquired throughout his life and to transform it into unique products with a very important sales potential at the international level. In 2010, the company’s billing surpassed 2 million Euros, the quantity that the company intends to dedicate to innovation in the next two business cycles.

Today, the conic balloon is distributed from Switzerland to 57 countries such as Italy, Greece, Brazil, Egypt and Iran.