Meet the JHTV Staff Member

Meet the JHTV Staff Member: Steve Kousouris

Meet the JHTV Staff Member: Steve Kousouris


Steve Kousouris is no stranger to Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures. As JHTV’s Senior Director of Finance and Administration, he’s overseen finance and operations over the last five years as our commercialization efforts at JHTV have blossomed. As Steve has taken on a new role as Interim Executive Director of Tech Transfer, he says he is excited to see JHTV grow in even bigger ways.
Below, the native Marylander talks JHTV, growing Baltimore and leading about 40 staff members to new heights for Tech Transfer.

I understand you have a background in the health care and finance space? How has that helped you in your roles at JHTV?

My previous role as the senior director is basically like being the CFO for JHTV. Finance skills are translatable across businesses. As we’ve transitioned Tech Ventures from where it was when I joined—just the tech transfer—and expanded our FastForward startup assistance capabilities and the Corporate Partnerships group, those skills from my time in health care have become even more applicable.
During my health care career, I’d done a lot of merger and acquisition work, including the acquisition of startup companies and extensive work selling to pharma. I have experience in two areas where we’re trying to grow.

Do you have any specific goals or anything you’d like to see implemented?

Our job is to commercialize the inventions of Hopkins, mostly from faculty. We get 500 invention disclosures a year and do 170 licenses a year. Over time we’ve built up quite an inventory of unlicensed technologies. While we’re continually terminating technologies that aren’t valuable anymore, we still have a large inventory that is potentially licensable. One of things we will be focusing on is how to better prioritize and focus our licensing efforts on the inventions of highest value.
This year we will focus on prioritizing inventions and working hard to get them out, faculty relationships, licensee compliance and improving surveillance.

How do you define value?

Value to the university is measured by the potential income we receive through licensing. Value is also determined by how well our technology addresses a problem and the impact of that problem on society.

On the personal side, are you a Marylander?

Yes. I grew up in Baltimore and was in fact born at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I grew up near the Homewood campus in Waverly and now live in Carroll County.

What do you like to do for fun? Tell me about your hobbies.

I play golf—not all that well—and I like to travel a little bit.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled?

One of the things I’ve found most interesting was on a trip to Italy when we took a tour under the Vatican. They’ve found and excavated a necropolis under St. Peter’s Basilica.

What do you like about Baltimore?

My family has a small business in produce delivery and I grew up driving trucks and know the city quite well. My Greek grandparents came here in 1904 and we have deep roots in Baltimore. I like that the city is a large enough city, but it’s got that small-town flavor with its ethnic communities. It’s so much more vibrant today than it was 30 years ago in terms of opportunity for restaurants, entertainment and innovation.

What makes it a good place to innovate?

There’s huge opportunity here. We have the university generating great technology and a lot of startup activity happening here, but there isn’t a large company that’s going to use that technology here yet. In terms of the Baltimore skyline, there’s a great opportunity to attract those companies into town as our startups are growing and getting to the point where they’ll be large companies themselves. I’m looking forward to seeing Baltimore move in that direction.


Longeviti wants to help neurosurgery patients be whole again

Longeviti wants to help neurosurgery patients be whole again


Longeviti L.I.D. platform

When patients considered the outcome of neurosurgery in its earliest decades they were often more focused on survival than on potential deformities, scars, lumps or bumps left behind after surgery, according to Jesse Christopher, co-founder and president of Longeviti Neuro Solutions.

Now that outcomes have improved, patients are more confident in their chances of making it through surgery to remove tumors, relieve swelling or implant medical devices, but they also have additional priorities, Christopher said.

“Though living is still the primary outcome sought and patients have trust in the surgical outcomes, they also want to look the way they did prior to surgery,” says Christopher, a 15-year veteran of the medical device industry.

To that aim, Christopher launched Longeviti in 2016 with co-founder and chief medical officer Dr. Chad Gordon, a leading craniofacial plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins who specializes in craniofacial injuries, reconstruction and surgeries and complex skull reconstruction, among other medical procedures related to the face and skull.

Longeviti seeks to help neurosurgery patients by adding function to otherwise unused space after skull reconstruction implants. The goal is to improve both neurologic and cosmetic outcomes by giving patients and doctors more options when it comes to the installation and retrieval of neurosurgical device implants, Christopher says.

Though Christopher says the world is a long ways from implanting cell phones in people’s brains, he does see a future in which medical technology and implants specifically play a larger role in the health care space.

Using robot and laser technology licensed through Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, the company has set out to produce the first customizable power supply within the cranial hemisphere. The team has created two medical devices for market so far and has been credited with three, first-in-human case publications.

The InvisiShunt is a single-use sterile surgical implant for different areas of the craniofacial skeleton. It uses a high-density polyethylene to support location and orientation while restoring the natural shape of the cranium.

Longeviti’s L.I.D platform is currently making its way through the federal approval process. The custom-shaped-devices will act as a vessel that allows for easier access to medical devices that must be implanted to manage medical conditions, such as hydrocephalus, epilepsy and tumors.

Meanwhile, the InvisiShunt was used for the first time on a patient in October 2017. The single-use implant is pitched as a way to leave behind fewer cranial deformities due to repeated surgeries.

Cranial reconstruction is often done after neurosurgery procedures to fill in areas after removing a tumor or after re-entering the skull for routine follow-up neurosurgeries, Christopher explained. The applications of the InvisiShunt include non-load bearing augmentation and/or reconstruction of the craniofacial skeleton.

“Until Longeviti, functional neurosurgery implants and cranial reconstruction were completely siloed industries in the commercial world,” says Christopher.

Christopher said he jumped at the chance to combine his background in medical device marketing with Gordon’s medical expertise when a previous employer passed on Johns Hopkins’ robot and laser technology. He quit his job and purchased the patents because the two share a passion for helping patients who need cranial reconstruction live their best life, free of deformities, bumps and voids that often accompany surgery without reconstruction, Christopher says.

As a virtual member of FastForward, a coordinated suite of resources designed to move technologies from startup to marketplace, Longeviti also received help connecting with industry and fundraising experts.

The company has attained financing and secured 510Ks from the FDA, which are premarket notifications sent in to demonstrate that a device is as safe, effective and equivalent to a legally marketed device that is not subject to premarket approval.

“Technology isn’t going in the opposite direction,” says Christopher. “It’s always moving forward. That means we’re just at the beginning of interacting with our brain. It’s going to become bigger business and provide better tools, so let’s account for that. We want to be the company that plans for the many surgeries these patients will face, and ensures getting in and out won’t leave patients less than whole.”

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