Our Company

ExThera Medical develops and commercializes extracorporeal blood filtration devices, including the Seraph® 100 Microbind® Affinity Blood Filter, and OncoBind™ Blood Filter for removing a broad range of harmful substances from the bloodstream of patients. ExThera Medical’s extracorporeal products have demonstrated life-saving capabilities in a wide range of critically ill patients suffering from severe infections, and the potential to treat stage 4 metastatic cancer patients. With a growing body of outcome and health economic evidence from independent clinical studies, participation in the DARPA dialysis-like therapeutics program, from successful clinical use in the U.S. and EU for the treatment of bloodstream infections, and with positive in vitro test results demonstrating removal of circulating tumor cells, the company is well-positioned to serve healthcare professionals and patients alike.

ExThera Medical was formed in 2008 through a joint venture between the Emergence Venture Partners Life Science Incubator and ExThera AB at the Karolinska Institute of Stockholm with a focus on therapeutic applications to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR). From this collaboration, the application of novel pathogen and circulating tumor cell adsorption intellectual property was developed to what is now branded as the Seraph® 100 and OncoBind™ blood filters.

Executive Management

Robert  Ward, NAE,  Ph.D. (h)

Robert Ward, NAE, Ph.D. (h)

President and Chief Executive Officer

Meet Robert

Keith McCrea, Ph.D.

Keith McCrea, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research and Development and Chief Science Officer

Meet Keith

Samuel Shull, M.B.A.

Samuel Shull, M.B.A.

Chief Commercial Officer

Meet Sam

Sanja Ilic, M.D., M.S., RAC

Sanja Ilic, M.D., M.S., RAC

Chief Regulatory Officer and Vice President of Clinical, Regulatory and Medical Affairs

Meet Sanja

Sallie Coviello

Sallie Coviello

Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Quality

Meet Sallie

Polly Ascano

Polly Ascano

Vice President of Manufacturing

Meet Polly

Scientific Advisory Board Members

Dr. Lakhmir Chawla, M.D.

Dr. Lakhmir Chawla, M.D.

Meet Dr. Chawla

Prof. Herwig Gerlach, M.D., M.B.A., M.Sc, M.A.E.

Prof. Herwig Gerlach, M.D., M.B.A., M.Sc, M.A.E.

Meet Prof. Gerlach

Dr. Stuart Goldstein, M.D.

Dr. Stuart Goldstein, M.D.

Meet Dr. Goldstein

Robert Ward, NAE, Ph.D. (h) | President and Chief Executive Officer

Prior to ExThera, Robert Ward was President, CEO, and Founder of the Polymer Technology Group (PTG) in Berkeley, California. PTG was sold to Royal DSM with a 132X investor return. Prior to a successful entrepreneurial career, Robert was Director of Research at Avco Medical Products and later spent a decade at Thoratec as President of the Biomaterials Division. He has numerous technical publications and patents and has received multiple awards and recognitions. Robert studied engineering management and polymer science at Northeastern University and received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Keith McCrea, Ph.D. | Vice President of Research and Development and Chief Science Officer

Keith McCrea began his career at The Polymer Technology Group (PTG), where he built a state-of-the-art surface analysis laboratory focusing on a custom-built advanced laser technique that has been used to aid in the identification and development of new intellectual property at ExThera. Keith has led R&D projects to develop new materials for several different medical applications and has a doctorate in physical chemistry, with an emphasis on surface modification and characterization from University of California, Berkeley. Keith also serves on the scientific advisory board of NESAC/BIO, an NIH-sponsored program at the University of Washington with a mission to develop new techniques to solve biomedical related problems associated with surfaces and interfaces.

Samuel  Shull, M.B.A. | Chief Commercial Officer

Sam has served in several global commercial leadership roles with more than 20 years’ experience in the hospital sector. For the last 10 years he has served the renal extracorporeal critical care community commercializing medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and in vitro diagnostic products. Career highlights include product marketing through notable acquisitions; Most recently Astute Medical and subsequent acquisition, and Gambro/Baxter International/Inc. Experience includes responsibility for product launches, early market development commercial growth, >$100M mature product portfolio management, and strategic development initiatives therein. Sam has a Master’s of Business Administration degree in Finance and International Management from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the UC Davis College of Engineering.

Sanja Ilic, M.D., M.S., RAC | Chief Regulatory Officer and Vice President of Clinical, Regulatory and Medical Affairs

Dr. Sanja Ilic, the company’s Chief Regulatory Officer, is an internationally recognized Physician with over 25 years of global regulatory, clinical, and medical affairs experience in the healthcare industry (Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Hologic, and startups), with demonstrated ability to establish successful clinical development and medical affairs strategies, and efficiently secure regulatory approvals in many categories of medical systems including diagnostics, Class I, II and Class III devices, and Device Drug/Biologic combination products. Extensive track record in guiding excellence in product safety and development, focusing on achieving successful global product launches, developing strong relationships with regulatory authorities, building deep technical knowledge and talent bases, and implementing strategic process improvements.

Sallie Coviello | Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Quality

Sallie began her career in research and development at The Polymer Technology Group (PTG) working directly with physicians and engineers to develop and fabricate medical device prototypes used in benchtop and clinical studies. Since then, she has gained 25+ years of experience in a variety of positions including Principle Quality Engineer, Director of Device Development, Director of Manufacturing at DSM Biomedical and VP of Operations at Actamax Surgical Materials, LLC, then a DSM Biomedical-DuPont joint venture. Sallie’s background in Class II and III devices allowed her to experience quality from a variety of perspectives and provided an ideal basis for her transition to quality management in the medical device industry. Sallie received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology, Product Design with a minor in Business Administration from San Francisco State University.

Polly Ascano | Vice President of Manufacturing

Polly brings more than 25 years of experience including Process Design and Scale-up, Operations, Quality, Process Validations, Manufacturing, Research and Development, Process Safety and HAZOP. Most recently, Polly served as the Director of Manufacturing at ExThera Medical where he successfully led the design of the scale-up of the processes in the company. Polly began his career as the Senior Analytical Chemist at PTG. Since then, he has gained experience in a variety of positions including Research Scientist where he successfully developed the process of synthesizing a cross linker polymer in a small scale for ophthalmic applications which he eventually scaled up in a commercial scale and served as the Production Manager of the Ophthalmic Department at PTG. He also served as the Director of Manufacturing, Process Safety Engineer and Senior Quality Engineer at DSM. Polly received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Mapua Institute of Technology.

Dr. Lakhmir Chawla, M.D.

Prior to joining the board, Dr. Chawla was a professor of medicine at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. where he directed research efforts for the Division of Critical Care Medicine. He previously headed the Division of Intensive Care Medicine at the Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and currently serves as a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center. With a focus on critical care and nephrology, Dr. Chawla has led and supported several grants and research projects centered on acute kidney injury, renal disease, extracorporeal therapies, shock, and sepsis.

2013 – Alpha Omega Alpha, George Washington University

Dr. Chawla received a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a medical degree from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Prof. Herwig Gerlach, M.D., M.B.A., M.Sc, M.A.E.

Prof. Gerlach brings expertise in anesthesiology and critical care medicine as a board-certified physician and professor. A widely published researcher, he has investigated issues pertaining to intensive care, critical care and emergency medicine, post-operative care and the treatment of sepsis, which are highly relevant to ExThera’s mission of developing new therapies for the treatment of bloodstream infections. In addition to his several roles throughout Germany, Prof. Gerlach also previously served as a research fellow at Columbia University in New York. He previously served as president of the German Sepsis Society and is now vice president.

1999 – Received the Annual Scientific Award, 19thInternational Symposium of Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine

1997 – Awarded a teaching certificate for Educational Presentations, European Respiratory Society

1993 – Received the Pulmedica Award, German Society for Research in Respiratory and Lung Diseases

Prof. Dr. Gerlach received a medical degree from Justus Liebig University, Giessen and a master of business administration degree in hospital management from Hochschule Neubrandenburg. He also received a master’s degree in Clinical Research and Translational Medicine from the University of Leipzig and a master’s degree in Education in Applied Ethics from The University of Münster.

Dr. Stuart Goldstein, M.D.

Dr. Goldstein contributes expertise in nephrology and brings to the board a unique perspective from his background in pediatric care. In addition to his current role at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, he holds a faculty position as a professor of pediatrics for the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. Dr. Goldstein has also led and contributed research support for several research investigations focused on device therapies, including those with emphasis on renal failure and end-stage renal disease, for various institutions.

2018 – Received the Team Research Award for Learning Networks, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

2017 – Elected Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology

2016 – Awarded the Presidential Citation, Society for Critical Care Medicine

Dr. Goldstein received a bachelor’s degree from Pitzer College and a medical degree from Columbia University.