PARIS, France/Tampa, FL – July 11, 2022 – SafeHeal™, a leading innovator in the field of digestive surgery and developer of the Colovac device, announced today the appointment of Chris Richardson as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who assumes responsibilities immediately.
Richardson has over 30 years of experience in the medical device industry, and an extensive record of successfully taking medtech companies from startup to commercialization to acquisition. Most recently, he was President and CEO of Keystone Heart, a structural heart medical device company, and creator of the first Cerebral Embolic Protection device designed to provide complete coverage to all brain regions for patients undergoing cardiac procedures. Keystone Heart was acquired in 2018 by Venus Medtech, the leader in transcatheter structural heart valvular therapies in China.
Before that, Richardson was International President and Chief Commercial Officer of Direct Flow Medical, a transcatheter aortic valve company, and General Manager of Evalve (MitraClip), which was acquired by Abbott Vascular. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Neurolief, creator of a digital therapeutics platform based on a clinically-validated neuromodulation technology to treat chronic neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders such as migraine and depression.
“We're fortunate to have Chris come on board at this stage in SafeHeal's development,” said Antoine Papiernik, Chairman and Managing Partner of Sofinnova Partners, a cornerstone investor and a member of the company’s Board of Directors. “Chris has the experience and operational track record the company needs right now to execute on its ambitious plan to transform the standard of care for colorectal cancer patients.”Antoine Papiernik, Chairman and Managing Partner of Sofinnova Partners
SafeHeal was founded in 2015 by the MD Start team, which leads Sofinnova Partners’ in-house medtech accelerator. The company develops the Colovac device, designed to eliminate the need for diverting ostomies post Colorectal cancer resection. SafeHeal announced in April 2022 the first patient enrollment in its US pivotal study of Colovac, (SAFE 2) with as many as 20 U.S. and European sites enrolling patients in the study. In January, Sofinnova Partners, a historic shareholder in SafeHeal, co-led a €40 million financing round of the company, with Genesis MedTech.
“I'm delighted to be joining this talented team,” Richardson said. “It's an exciting time for SafeHeal, building upon our European clinical success and preparing for EU commercial launch. Colovac has the potential to improve the quality of life for millions of patients around the world and reshape colorectal surgery.”Chris Richardson, SafeHeal CEO
“Richardson was the perfect candidate for the CEO role. He has what it takes to bring SafeHeal to the next level — strategy-development skills, integrity, experience building teams, and much more.”Jay Watkins, Chairman of SafeHeal Board of Directors
Richardson succeeds the previous CEO, Karl Blohm, who remains at the company as Vice President International.
SafeHeal SAS, headquartered in Paris, France, and its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, SafeHeal Inc., is a clinical-stage medical device company which develops Colovac, a device invented by a French digestive surgeon, Dr. Charam Khosrovani, to obviate the need for a digestive ostomy in patients undergoing colorectal surgery. Colovac is a flexible bypass sheath intended to reduce the contact of fecal content at the anastomotic site following colorectal surgery. The device is placed endoluminally and is fully reversible. The device remains in place for 10 days, until the body’s natural healing and tissue repair processes are complete, after which it is removed during an endoscopic procedure without the need for a second surgical intervention. This enables patients to resume their normal life without the stigma and complications associated with an ostomy procedure. Colovac is an investigational device, not currently available for sale.
Scott DePierro, Vice President U.S. Operations and Global Business Development, SafeHeal