December 7, 1938 – February 2, 2019 Alan Kaganov, 80, died in his home in Los Altos Hills on February 2, 2019 after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis, which he fought with his characteristic combination of optimism, scientific analysis and creativity. Even two days before he died, he was in discussion with colleagues on ways to improve the oxygen delivery systems that were sustaining his life. Holder of 15 US patents, Dr. Kaganov was a pioneer in biomedical engineering. He helped to develop treatments for many conditions including heart arrhythmia, internal issues, spinal and circulatory diseases and drug-delivery systems. In 2017, Alan and his wife, Carol M. Kaganov, established the Kaganov Research Initiative at Duke University. This unique program aims to advance the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of pulmonary diseases by fostering new collaborations across Engineering and Medicine at Duke, where he earned his BS in 1960 in Mechanical Engineering.
He received Duke’s Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award in 2004. Alan’s undergraduate degree was just the beginning of his trailblazing career which focused on the new field of Biomedical Engineering, first at Johnson & Johnson. Along the way he earned an MBA from New York University in 1966 in corporate finance. He received his Doctor of Science degree from Columbia University in 1975. Alan and Carol established a Professorship at Columbia as part of their legacy, and he served on its Engineering Board of Visitors starting in 2010. His varied career focused on developing innovative new technologies at major medical device companies as well as start-ups, moving from R&D roles to general management. first at the Davis and Geck division of Lederle, then part of American Cyanamid. He moved on to Baxter Healthcare in Illinois, where he was General Manager of the Fenwal Division, and then -- recognizing his entrepreneurial spirit as well as R & D skills -- he was made Vice President of Technology and New Ventures. A chance to become CEO led to EP Technologies in Palo Alto, CA, a start-up that produced steerable catheters for treating arrhythmias. It was acquired by Boston Scientific, where he became Vice President of Acquisitions and Strategic Planning. Alan joined U.S. Venture Partners in 1996 where served as a venture partner, partner and senior advisor for over 22 years. He distinguished himself as an incisive, passionate and successful investor, and as a mentor to many executives in the firm’s portfolio. He cofounded Aptus Endosystems in 2002 and served as its chairman. Other board positions included NewUro, Neuros Medical, Atricure, St. Francis, A-Med Systems, Spinal Elements, and Flextronics. “Alan had an unusual combination of personality, skills and experience that made him a great venture capitalist. He could not only identify and articulate the strategic issues, but based on his strong technical background and experience, he was an unusually valuable resource to entrepreneurs. And he was also a nice guy that everyone loved,” remarked Phil Young, a longtime general partner and current senior advisor at USVP. Alan was especially proud of his contributions to the Stanford University Bio-Science Lab, Bailard, Inc., where he was a healthcare advisor, and the Gladstone Institute, where he was on the Board and established an innovative Fellowship. He has been a generous supporter of the San Francisco Symphony and the Smuin Ballet, where he was an avid audience member as well as on its board. Alan was a passionate traveler, gardener, investor, and dedicated fan of the NY Yankees, the NY Giants and the Duke Blue Devils basketball team. Alan Kaganov was born in Brooklyn, NY, on December 7, 1938, son of Morris and Sally Kaganov, and grew up in Miami Beach, FL, where he attended high school. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Carol Kaufman, from Albany, NY., sister Debby (Gil) Wolfenson, brother-in-law Henry Kaufman and wife, Meryl Unger, nephews Andrew (Jennifer) Wolfenson and Barry Wolfenson, nieces Carin (David) Blatteis and Erica (Dan) Asher, and eight grand-nieces and nephews. A celebration of Alan Kaganov’s life will be held in late February. In lieu of flowers, contributions in honor of Alan L. Kaganov may be sent to: DUKE UNIVERSITY – KAGANOV INITIATIVE, attention “Judge” Carr, Sr. Assoc. Dean for Development and Alumni Affairs, 305 Teer Engineering Building, Box 90271 Durham, NC 27708. Or, call (919) 660-5385, or email gifts.Duke.edu