Kurt Azarbarzin is a 39-year medtech industry veteran, having led the development of over 90 new products representing over $910 million of annual sales at companies including U.S. Surgical, Tyco Healthcare (now Medtronic), Spine Wave, Respimetrix, SurgiQuest, Verb Surgical, and J&J. He has experience in surgical, robotic, cardiovascular, interventional, orthopedic and urological markets. Kurt founded SurgiQuest in 2005 and sold it to CONMED, and the company's lead technology AirSeal became the standard of care for advanced laparoscopic and robotic surgery. He then became CEO of Verb Surgical (a joint venture between Google and J&J) consisting of over 550 employees, that was acquired by J&J in January 2020. After that, Kurt became and is currently the CEO of EndoQuest Robotics, which is developing the first endoluminal robotic surgical platform in the world, designed to enable scar-free surgery through the body's natural orifices.
Christine Antalik has over 29 years of experience in accounting and finance including several high-profile, executive-level roles as chief financial officer. Over the course of her career, Christine has closed over $1 billion in deal transactions through initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, private and venture equity financings, debt financings, recapitalizations, and research grants. With four consecutive exits between 2005 and 2016, she has earned an impeccable track record of starting, building, growing, and improving the profitability, performance, and value of companies, while positioning them for the next level of growth or exit. Prior to joining EndoQuest, Christine was the founder of Founders Bridge Advisors, LLC, where she served as CFO for a diverse portfolio of life sciences clients including Bioasis Technologies, Inc. (TSX.V:BTI; OTCQB:BIOAF) and Aeromics, Inc. She previously served as chief financial officer of SurgiQuest, Inc. where she led the $265 million acquisition of the company by CONMED Corporation in 2016 after filing the company's public S-1 statement. Christine also led a $108 million initial public offering as the vice president of finance and controller at HigherOne, Inc. and as CFO of Hematech, LLC, she steered the company to an acquisition by Kirin Brewery Company.
Todd Wilson, MD, has been a part of EndoQuest Robotics since its inception and played critical roles in the concept, strategy development and early design of the platform. He is a minimally invasive surgeon and associate professor at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School. His surgical practice focuses on stomach and esophageal disease with an emphasis on developing, teaching, and validating procedures for robotic and endoluminal surgery. He has over seventy peer reviewed published articles, is continuously involved in trials related to robotics and endoluminal techniques, and as the medical director of the Surgical Innovation and Robotics Institute has helped to train thousands of surgeons from all over the world in robotic surgery. Prior to medical school, Todd was a Surface Warfare Officer during which he served three tours as an engineer, as an operations officer and finally as an admiral's aide. He is excited to help bring EndoQuests' technology to physicians and to see its impact on medical therapies.
Perry Genova, PhD, leads the Research and Development programs at EndoQuest Robotics. Prior to joining EndoQuest Perry was SVP of R&D at Titan Medical, a single incision surgical robotics platform, where he led the Company's efforts to assess applicable procedures and markets and to redesign the system for commercial success. A serial entrepreneur, Dr. Genova has established and exited operating companies in inhaled drug delivery, diabetes care, barbed suture products, oncology diagnostics, and neurosurgical robotics. He holds a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, and Master's and Doctoral degrees in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has received over 55 patents in healthcare-related technologies.
Chris Klecher joined EndoQuest Robotics in June 2021 and is responsible for the Company's upstream marketing and clinical development. Mr. Klecher is an accomplished sales and marketing executive with more than 30 years of sales and marketing experience in both large cap companies as well as venture-backed start-up organizations. Throughout his career, Mr. Klecher has held executive level sales and marketing positions within U.S. Surgical as well as serving as a key member of seven medical device start-up companies: Microsurge (acquired by Richard Allan), Endonetics (acquired by Medtronic), Vascular Control Systems (acquired by J&J), Torax Medical (acquired by J&J), Solace Therapeutics, Venetec International (acquired by C.R. Bard) and SurgiQuest (acquired by CONMED). Over the course of his career, he has led hundreds of sales and marketing professionals and launched more than 75 products.
John Magnasco is a technical executive who has brought more than 50 products to market and holds 16 U.S. and multiple foreign patents. John currently serves as VP, Quality and Regulatory at EndoQuest Robotics having joined the team in September 2022. Prior to that he served as VP, Quality and Compliance for Johnson & Johnson's Robotics and Digital Solutions team having joined that team in 2016 as part of Verb Surgical, the joint venture between J&J and Google. Before joining Verb, John was VP of Operations and Quality at Broncus Medical, a computer-aided surgical navigation company for biopsy, access and treatment of lung cancer where he led all functions except R&D and raised $13 million in equity. In 2002, John took a position with Intuitive Surgical where he led Program Management and NPI for the da Vinci Surgical System through multiple product launches including the first 4- arm robotic surgical system, first 3DHD visualization system, and first robotic beating heart stabilizer while growing revenue to over $500 million five years later. Prior to that, John was VP of R&D and Quality at Hello Direct where he led product development that resulted in 13 consecutive quarters of record revenue/earnings growth and a $95MM acquisition.
Mark is a medical device executive with 22 years of experience within multiple roles of operations, product development and design. His most recent endeavor is leading operations at EndoQuest Robotics. Prior to joining EndoQuest Robotics, Mark was VP of operations at Sequel Special Products, a family-owned business that was acquired by Nissha Medical Technologies. Mark grew the company to a $25MM medical device contract manufacturing business. Prior to working in the medical device field, Mark held many positions for a $1B automotive company. Mark has a BS in Mechanical engineering and holds 24 US patents. Mark has a true passion for mentoring the next generation of young engineers and feels it is his duty to share his experience.
A results-oriented manager and engineer with a proven track record and over thirty-two years of experience successfully managing R&D and Operations departments along with leading multidisciplinary project teams and programs. Areas of expertise include operations engineering and management, product design and development, process development, and quality systems in the medical device industry. Market segments including Cardiovascular (surgical & interventional), OB/GYN, Thoracic, Arthroscopic, General Colorectal in both endo and open surgery. Inventor on 12 issued patents. Successfully brought more than 115 products to market, across 15 different platforms, over a 32-year period.
Michelle Meissner joined EndoQuest Robotics in 2023 as the head of Human Resources. Prior to joining EndoQuest, Michelle has held Human Resources leadership roles in the Life Science, Transportation, Energy, Insurance, Commercial Real Estate, and Investment industries. Ms. Meissner has led large scale business transformations to ensure that HR practices support the achievement of a company’s business strategy. Michelle has a proven track record of building solid cross-functional global teams and adding value to the business strategy through leading edge HR practices.
Neeraj Agrawal oversees Crescent Enterprises' operations and investments. He has supported the company's evolution and transformation throughout its years of expansion, by fostering new investments as well as nurturing its various established businesses within the fields of healthcare, ports and logistics, and power plant engineering and construction. In recent years he has been leading the venture capital investments in MENA and globally. In his capacity as a Board Member of the Crescent Group, Neeraj is responsible for finance & investment functions, building relationships with the investment & banking community and diverse stakeholders. His numerous achievements throughout his 35 years with the Group include management leadership and board oversight across various businesses globally. Neeraj was also instrumental in the successful formation and capitalization of Dana Gas PJSC (including a successful private placement and $80Billion IPO), the US$1.2Billion acquisition and financing of TSX listed Centurion Energy International Inc., and the Middle East's first forward-looking accelerated US$1Billion capital markets instrument. More recently, Neeraj has been instrumental in securing roughly $800Million international financing for development of gas resources through a regional bank facility, EPC contractor and US Development Finance Corporation under long term agreements.
Cary McNair is CEO of McNair Interests, a private investment and management company headquartered in Houston, Texas that is focused on transformative real estate projects, breakthrough medical discoveries and disciplined investments. He is responsible for the corporate strategy that guides business operations and the company's investment portfolio including the acquisition and development of high-yield assets. McNair leads a formidable team of executives and professional staff in accelerating business growth and value. Cary serves as chairman of the board of Invectys Inc. and a director of EndoQuest Robotics Inc. and Xcath Inc. He previously served as a director of Xeris Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Goodwill Industries of Houston.
Mr. McNair earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Kurt Azarbarzin is a 39-year medtech industry veteran, having led the development of over 90 new products representing over $910 million of annual sales at companies including U.S. Surgical, Tyco Healthcare (now Medtronic), Spine Wave, Respimetrix, SurgiQuest, Verb Surgical, and J&J. He has experience in surgical, robotic, cardiovascular, interventional, orthopedic and urological markets. Kurt founded SurgiQuest in 2005 and sold it to Conmed, and the company's lead technology AirSeal became the standard of care for advanced Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery. He then became CEO of Verb Surgical, a Joint Venture between Google and J&J consisting of over 550 employees, that was acquired by J&J in January 2020. After that, Kurt became and is currently the CEO of EndoQuest Robotics, which is developing the first endoluminal robotic surgical platform in the world, thus truly enabling scar-free surgery through existing lumens.
Mr. Fonseca is an Investment Director in the Crescent Group Investments Team and the Chief Corporate Development Officer of Gulftainer USA. In addition to his role with Crescent Group, Mr. Fonseca is also a member of the Board of Directors for XCath Inc., and HomeWork Mx. Prior to joining Crescent Group, Mr. Fonseca was the first Panamanian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and to Saudi Arabia. Prior to this role, and as part of his diplomatic duties, Mr. Fonseca worked with private and sovereign Institutional Investors.
Mr. Fonseca holds an MBA from INSEAD and a BS from Santa Clara University. He is also a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).
Dr. Patel completed his medical school education at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, and then his residency and fellowship training at the University of Miami in Florida. Subsequently, Dr. Patel served as Director of the Robotic Surgery Program at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, prior to joining Advent Health in Celebration, FL.
Dr. Patel is board certified by the American Urological Association and is the Medical Director of the Global Robotics Institute at Advent Health Celebration and Medical Director of the Advent Health Cancer Institute Urologic Oncology Program. He is a professor of Urology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando, Florida, and a clinical associate professor of Urology at Nova Southeastern University, also in Orlando. He serves as an honorary professor at the University of Milan, Korea University and Ricardo Palma University in Lima, Peru, and was recently made an honorary professor of the Russian Academy of Science.
He is the founder of the International Prostate Cancer Foundation (IPCF) and a founding member of the Society of Robotic Surgery. He is the Executive Director of the Society of Robotic Surgery that hosted 10,000 surgeons in 2020. Past president of the Florida Urologic Society. He is the editor emeritus of The Journal of Robotic Surgery and editor of the first-ever robotic urology textbook.
He leads the world's most experienced robotic surgery team and travels globally to educate physicians and care for patients. Dr. Patel is world-renowned for his contribution to the field of robotic surgery and prostate cancer. Dr. Patel is the most experienced robotic surgeon in the world and has personally performed over 16,000 robotic prostatectomies for the treatment of prostate cancer. Dr. Patel has developed techniques in robotic surgery that have translated to improve patient care and outcomes. His innovations have helped to improve cancer treatment and return of early urinary continence and sexual function. His contributions have been recognized worldwide through publications, professorships and training courses. He has traveled the globe lecturing and teaching. He has educated thousands of surgeons in robotic surgical techniques and has started robotic surgery programs or performed surgery throughout the United States and in countries, including India, China, England, Sweden, Belgium, Turkey, Australia and South Korea.
Frederic H. Moll M.D. is widely recognized as the pioneer of surgical robotics, having founded Intuitive Surgical in 1995. In the past 3 decades, Dr. Moll has created a number of medical robotics companies, most recently Auris Health, sold to J&J in 2019. Currently Dr. Moll serves as the Chief Development Officer of Johnson & Johnson's Medical Device Group.
Dr. Moll is a director of a number of leading healthcare companies including Shockwave Medical, Procept Biorobotics and Reflexion. He is a senior advisor to JPMorgan's newly formed Healthcare Venture Fund.
Dr. Moll earned an M.D. from the University of Washington School of Medicine, an M.S. degree from Stanford University and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley.
Jacques Marescaux is Professor of Surgery, Founder and Member of the Board of the Institute of Image-Guided Surgery (IHU Strasbourg) and President and Founder of IRCAD (1994) a uniquely structured institute advancing the field of surgery into the information era. In addition, he founded the European Institute for Telesurgery (EITS) as a training facility to disseminate the groundbreaking work at IRCAD. Over the last 27 years this center has gained international acclaim by training more than 45,000 surgeons from 124 countries, with 5 additional mirror IRCAD institutes created around the world in Taiwan (2008) and Brazil (Sao Paulo 2011, Rio de Janeiro 2017), Beirut (Lebanon 2019), Kigali (Rwanda 2023). Two additional IRCAD Institutes will be created in 2024, one in Wuxi, near Shanghai, China and the second in the United States in Charlotte.
In 2001, Professor Marescaux performed the first transcontinental laparoscopic surgery on a patient in Strasbourg, France while being in New York; this is known as “Operation Lindbergh” (Nature 2001;413:379-380 – Annals of Surgery 2002;235:487-492). On April 2, 2007, he is believed to be the first in the world to operate a patient without leaving a scar (Archives of Surgery 2007;142:823-826).
Jacques Marescaux and his team published up to 4,800 national and international articles. He has received honorary degrees from a number of Universities and honorary fellowships at the Royal College of Surgeons in London and the Japanese society of endoscopic surgery, and is member of a range of Editorial Boards. He was made Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (1999), Officier dans l'Ordre national du Mérite (2007), Officier de la Légion d'honneur (2012) and Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur (2019).
Jacques Marescaux was invited to deliver more than 450 speeches in many European, American, Japanese, and Chinese Universities or Schools of Medicine, amongst which the "Address to Diplomates" he gave at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, the Nobel Lecture he gave in Stockholm, and the Fogarty Lecture he gave at Stanford University.
Dr. Thompson is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Director of Endoscopy and Co-Director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), is Principal Investigator of the Developmental Endoscopy Lab and serves on the HMS admissions committee. He operates on the Governing Board of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), and is Editor-in-Chief for iGIE, the society's new open access journal.
Dr. Thompson's academic and clinical efforts have consistently focused on three main areas: (1) obesity and metabolic disease, (2) development of new endosurgical procedures and technologies, and (3) endoscopic training and assessment. He has invented numerous procedures, including Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG), Transoral Outlet Reduction (TORe), and Gastroplasty with Endoscopic Myotomy (GEM), and he has led several US pivotal trials. These projects have resulted in substantial Department of Defense and societal funding, numerous patents, the development and licensing of new technologies, over 250 peer-reviewed publications with an H-index of over 60, various innovation awards, and five successful start-up companies. He has served on advisory boards for industry partners, insurance companies, and investment banks, and has co-founded several societal ventures, including the Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research (NOSCAR) and the Association for Bariatric Endoscopy (ABE). He has also mentored a diverse group of trainees who have gone on to leadership roles in major US and international academic centers, with one becoming a White House Fellow and, another, Chief Medical Officer for a Fortune 500 medical device company. Dr. Thompson recently had the honor of receiving the ASGE's highest mentoring award, the Distinguished Endoscopic Research Mentoring Award. He also has been credited with being the founding father of the field of Bariatric Endoscopy, among other accolades.
Clinically, Dr. Thompson reorganized and expanded the interventional endoscopy service at BWH to become one of the only units in the US to offer all available endoscopic therapies, and the only US center with World Endoscopy Organization (WEO) Center of Excellence Status.
In summary, Dr. Thompson's body of work comprises of procedure and technology development, academic publications, start-up companies, training and mentoring, societal leadership roles, and clinical program development. These accomplishments have touched many lives across the US and internationally, and he has numerous active programs that hold promise for years to come.
Santiago Horgan, MD, is an internationally recognized expert in esophageal disease, weight-loss surgery, minimally invasive surgery and new technologies and approaches for surgery. He performs a variety of weight-loss procedures including gastric sleeve, gastric plication, gastric bypass, and revisional weight-loss surgeries.
Dr. Horgan has expertise in minimally invasive surgical techniques, providing patients with a faster recovery time and less scarring than open surgical methods. He is skilled in the use of surgical robotics, which enables surgeons to perform complex and delicate procedures through small incisions. He is also a pioneer in the field of natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES), in which surgical instruments are passed through a natural orifice such as the mouth to reach the desired organ.
As the director of the Center for the Future of Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Horgan is working with colleagues to investigate, develop, test and teach procedures that are revolutionizing the field of surgery. Dr. Horgan trains surgeons during their fellowship as well as established surgeons from medical centers across the country on minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Before joining the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine in 2006, Dr. Horgan was director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery and Robotic Surgery Department and co-director of the Swallowing Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was also director of the Minimally Invasive Bariatric Center in Chicago. Dr. Horgan completed his fellowship at University of Washington School of Medicine and his residency at University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine in Argentina, where he also received his medical degree.
Crescent Enterprises is a multinational company headquartered in the United Arab Emirates. It operates under four platforms: CE-Operates, CE-Invests, CE-Ventures, and CE-Creates, which span diverse sectors including ports and logistics, power and engineering, food & beverage, business aviation, and across verticals such as private equity, venture capital, and business incubation. Crescent Enterprises employs over 1,800 people in 15 countries.
With a long-term investment and operating philosophy that embraces corporate governance, inclusive growth, and responsible business practices, Crescent Enterprises is a regional leader in growing diversified global businesses that are sustainable, scalable, and profitable.
Crescent Enterprises is a subsidiary of the Crescent Group, one of the most progressive family business groups that has been actively contributing to the economic landscape of the Middle East and North Africa region since 1971. Crescent Group's other subsidiary, Crescent Petroleum, is the first and the largest indigenous, privately owned upstream oil and gas company in the Middle East. www.crescent.ae
McNair Interests is a private investment and management company headquartered in Houston, Texas. The firm's focus on transformative real estate projects, breakthrough medical discoveries, and disciplined investments has enabled it to become a valuable and diversified company with over 35 years of experience in private equity, real estate, energy, and venture capital. The firm considers every opportunity for its ability to drive innovation while generating value and creating a lasting, positive impact on the community. www.mcnair.com