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At Alumend, we take our passion for research and development seriously. Once a chemical compound is invented, we guide the process through clinical trials, building the body of evidence needed for the next company to take a potential marketable medical product forward for FDA approval.

We are differentiated from academic research by looking at the business potential of a medical product early on. Before we make the decision to move ahead with a product, we ask ourselves in the product will help the patient and, thus, be commercially viable.

We have an effective multidisciplinary team of physiology and chemistry associates, along with senior scientists, who have expertise in the various fields necessary - and required - to advance an idea from concept to product. This diverse team, with the support of Avera nd other world-class collaborations, is positioned to successfully translate novel technologies into a portfolio of clinical products.

We take the products we create all the way from the research benchtop to the patient's bedside.


Our core technology is photochemical protein cross-linking.

Photochemically-activated Naphthalimide chemistry is a breakthrough in natural tissue repair, providing a safe, effective alternative to more invasive techniques or foreign-body implants.

Our light-activated Naphthalimide platform has a track record of safety and has been licensed to Alucent as a Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) treatment, a disease for which few truly effective treatment options exist. This technology is designed to safely strengthen and bond tissues at a molecular level, making them an excellent choice for a range of medical applications.

Delivered through a catheter, these light-activated Naphthalimides diffuse into tissue, cross-linking proteins to form a strong internal "scaffold" which helps to hold a narrowed artery open. Unlike stents or polymers, our elegantly designed chemical compounds bind naturally with body tissues at the molecular level, creating a truly "natural" environment.

We are also the first-in-animal esophageal treatment which can be used in cases before or after cancer surgery where there may have been damage to the esophagus or where esophageal stricture (narrowing of the esophagus) impedes swallowing.

We're applying that same technology to the development of medical products for drug delivery and bile duct and esophageal repair and more.

For example, in the area of oncology, we could "paint" the area where a tumor is removed for a slow and continuous deposit of a cancer drug. This would have a low systemic toxicity compared with chemotherapy for a better overall outcome.


Our history of innovation dates back to the early 1990's when scientists first began developing their revolutionary Naphthalimide Photochemistry.

Our early collaborations connected Avera's research scientists and academic researchers together to invent this groundbreaking technology to treat PAD. The basic research in such vascular applications was supported both Avera funding and state grant funding.

The efforts in the area of light-activated Naphthalimide chemistry attracted the attention of the State of South Dakota which gave the researchers a major financial boost in 2010 with the establishment of the Center for the Research and Development of Light-Activated Materials. With this support, scientists not only expanded their study of Naphthalimides, but experimented with Chitosan Bio-adhesive as an ocular sealant, and tested both platforms for safe, effective local drug delivery.

Mission Statement:

Alumend's mission is to set the standard of care with new clinical therapies based on the research and development of novel chemistries.

Our Team

  • Ron Utecht

    Ron Utecht, BS, PhD, Alumend's Chief Scientific Officer, is a bioorganic chemist with expertise in molecular design, characterization and synthesis. Dr. Utecht is one of the original developers of Alumend's Light-activated Naphthalimide Technology. Dr. Utecht is currently focused on the refinement of the vascular application, as well as the development of new applications.

  • Ryan Hansen

    Alumend President Ryan Hansen, MBA, has degrees in Accounting and Hospital Administration as well as a master's degree in Business Administration. In his role with Alumend, Mr. Hansen seeks out business partnerships. Mr. Hansen has responsibilities for developing clinical drug research and cancer research, as the executive director of the Avera Research Institute, and genetics research, as the administrative director of the Avera Institute for Human Genetics.

  • Amy Spaans

    As operations director for Alumend, Ann Spaans provides information and direction to lead, manage and support our quality system, project management and business goals. Prior to joining Alumend, Spaans worked for Grand Laboratories, Novartis and Fort Dodge Animal Health doing research and development work, later moving to a quality assurance role conducting internal and external auditing. She has 34 years of experience int eh drug development industry.

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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