Interview with Light Line Medical CEO Vicki Farrar
Vicki Farrar has always been passionate about life sciences. An attorney by trade, specializing in intellectual property strategy and litigation, Farrar’s an entrepreneur at heart. That’s what inspired her to create Light Line Medical, a University of Utah student-founded company. She’s most interested in taking home-grown Utah ideas to improve health care from inception through to commercialization, and she admits she has a lot of fun doing it. Her passion for life science started 25 years ago, after representing her then Utah-based client, Dennis Farrar (now her husband), in a potential misappropriation case.
Light Line Medical is developing a proprietary method of delivering light to prevent and treat catheter-associated infections. This technology uses non-UV visible light to kill bacteria. The company has four revolutionary systems in development that are compatible with off-the-shelf catheters. Their products have the potential to dramatically decrease the frequency of all catheter-associated infections, including peritoneal dialysis, urinary tract and bloodstream infections.
How did you initially get started in the industry?
When I first moved to Utah, I spent several years commuting to Silicon Valley to finish up my legal casework. At this time, I realized how much talent and innovation was in my own backyard, at universities and start-up companies. This enticed me to take a big chance, stop practicing law and get involved in Utah start-ups, and ultimately to start my own medical device company. I’ve never looked back.
What are the top two most recent professional accomplishments you are most proud of?
I co-founded Catheter Connections, Inc., an infection control company with a device to prevent catheter-related bloodstream infections. I saw CathConn through extraordinarily difficult times until it was sold to Merit Medical Systems, a Utah-based public company. I never gave up, and now CathConns’ products are sold worldwide.
I also enjoy mentoring young engineers and helping them navigate the complexities of doing business while developing their character, values and passion. I adopted this role as I got to know and respect young leaders in our community. It’s a rewarding role for me, and I’ve developed life-long relationships with these mentees. They helped me as much as I helped them.
What drew you to Utah?
My husband and I were both drawn to Utah because of significant innovation that is occurring here on a daily basis. The small business-friendly environment makes it possible to commercialize local innovations that have the potential to impact people’s lives for the better. Also, the talented and friendly people, and the natural beauty of the state.
What do you like most about doing business in Utah?
I have dealt extensively with the University of Utah faculty and the Technology Venture Commercialization office. Working with both is like working with a partner – not an adversary – and that enables us to get things done on a win-win basis.
What advice do you have for individuals considering starting a business, or relocating their business, to Utah?
Ignore pre-conceived ideas based on stereotypes. The local community is welcoming and there to help. I have never been refused counsel and advice that I sought out.
What is your primary challenge of doing business in Utah?
It is getting capital after the initial seed round(s) from local funding sources. It takes a lot of effort and money to start a business, but it’s worth it.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
I have always been active (hiking, skiing and swimming), but in 2018, I found a new passion – working out at an innovative new gym called Pink Iron. I am totally hooked. It’s an almost daily affair and I have so much fun there.
Is there anything else you would like the reader to know about you?
I plan to continue what I’m doing forever. I will never stop looking for exciting life science opportunities in Utah.