CONTACT US   |  (864) 397-5101

Aptus Life Receives $25,000 from the Emerson Rose Heart Foundation to Develop a Living Heart Valve Replacement

Aptus Life, LLC announced today that it secured a $25,000 grant from the Emerson Rose Heart Foundation (ERHF) of Clemson, SC. Aptus Life’s objective is to develop a replacement heart valve for infants, children, and young adults that would last their entire lifetime without the need for blood thinning medication or additional valve replacement procedures. This aligns with ERHF’s mission “to change the future for those affected by congenital heart defects by providing support to families in need, advancing patient care and medical research, and increasing awareness about the most common birth defect in the world.” 

“A living heart valve replacement is bound to revolutionize the field of translational regenerative medicine and improve the quality of life of thousands of patients. It would shift clinical practices toward permanent solutions instead of temporary stopgaps,” said Lee Sierad, CEO of Aptus Life. 

While significant strides have been made in the development of heart valve replacements for adults, the infant to young adult population is currently underserved. Current valves used for infants and young adults require geometry modification, life-long medication, and follow-on operations to replace valves that fail or that they outgrow. In response, Aptus life envisions a clinical scenario whereby fat tissue is collected from the patient, cells are prepared and seeded onto a biological scaffold, and a living, patient-specific heart valve made from the patient’s own cells is implanted back into the patient. This living heart valve can then serve as a single, lifelong solution that minimizes the risks and costs associated with traditional valve replacements. 

Aptus Life is in the early stage of developing a living valve replacement. The company has secured the cell collection and preparation methods as well as the valve testing equipment.  They are now focusing on the biomaterial scaffold, cell seeding, and valve assembly methods. Funding from the Emerson Rose Heart Foundation will propel this research into the next stage of development: the formation and testing of numerous valve prototypes.

As one member of the Aptus Life team said: “Having the support of such a loving and inspiring organization has given us the drive we need to push this project along. While $25,000 will significantly assist us in our financial needs, it is the Emerson Rose heart Foundation’s profound faith and support that will assist us in translating this research into a viable, lifelong solution for patients worldwide.” 

About Aptus Life, LLC
Aptus Life is a privately-held, regenerative medicine company focused on developing a living heart valve replacement that utilizes a patient’s own cells to grow and regenerate for their entire lifetime. This product will dramatically improve the quality of life outcomes for those children and young adults who currently face future revision operations or lifelong anticoagulation medication. For more information, visit 

About the Emerson Rose Heart Foundation
The mission of the Emerson Rose Heart Foundation is to change the future for those affected by congenital heart defects by providing support to families in need, advancing patient care and medical research and increasing awareness about the most common birth defect in the world. Our ultimate purpose through these efforts is to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ. We are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and serve an average of 350 families each year with funding solely from individuals, the community, and corporate contributions with no federal or state funding. For more information, visit 

Join now to enjoy expanded member benefits!

Enjoy exclusive member content, special events, savings, networking and more

Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.