BioMedSA Announces ExThera’s CEO as the Winner of the 2021 Innovation Award in Healthcare and Bioscience
July 9, 2021

An inventor of a Groundbreaking Device to Treat COVID-19 and other bloodstream infections, ExThera Medical’s CEO Robert Ward to be Recognized by BioMedSA for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience
ExThera Medical’s Seraph 100 has brought a transformational treatment approach to the battle against severe COVID-19 cases in the United States

(SAN ANTONIO) July 9, 2021 – Dr. Robert Ward of ExThera Medical will be presented with the 2021 BioMedSA Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience for the development of the Seraph 100, a groundbreaking device used in the treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients. The Seraph 100, a blood purification device, has been granted Investigational Device Exemption by the Food and Drug Administration and is moving forward with a randomized control study to determine the Seraph’s effectiveness against pathogen associated shock

Based in California, Bob Ward is the founder and president of ExThera Medical Corporation where he developed a method of extracting pathogens from blood which has been used on the frontline to battle COVID-19. As a patient’s blood flows through the Seraph® Microbind® Affinity Blood Filter, it passes over tiny beads with receptors that mimic the receptors on human cells that pathogens target when they invade the body. Harmful substances – such as the SARS-COV-2 virus – are quickly captured and adsorbed onto the surface of the beads and are removed from the bloodstream. Ward’s Seraph 100 device has already saved the lives of hundreds of patients with COVID-19, including several in San Antonio, and his company is currently conducting a multi-center, 3-armed observational study (PURIFY-OBS-1). This DoD funded clinical trial will be followed by PURIFY-RCT, a trial to treat “Pathogen Associated Shock” at 15 sites in the USA, including five military treatment facilities, some in San Antonio.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized by your peers and such a highly regarded organization such as BioMedSA,” said ExThera Medical CEO Robert Ward. “We are proud to be saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic under our FDA Emergency Use Authorization and we are confident this new trial will help lead to the expansion of approved indications for Seraph 100 in the United States including life-threatening bloodstream infections beyond COVID-19.”

Prior to ExThera Medical, Ward led several companies whose innovations have benefitted patients, including as President/CEO and founder of the Polymer Technology Group (PTG), President of the Biomaterials Division at Thoratec and Director of Research at Avco Medical Products. He has invented materials and components that have been used in dozens of devices and prosthetic implants including intra-aortic balloons, artificial hearts, VADs, catheters, orthopedic implants, pacemakers, neurostimulation devices, vascular grafts, continuous glucose sensors and silicone hydrogel contact lenses.

Bob will accept the award at BioMedSA’s annual award event – scheduled to take place live – on Sept. 23, 2021.

“Robert Ward is simply a titan in the field,” noted BioMedSA President Heather Hanson. “His innovations in battling COVID-19 and sepsis are remarkable, but his entire career of innovation, invention and commercialization of technologies has made an indelible impact on patients around the world.”

“Robert Ward has made significant contributions to the advancement of biomedical engineering,” commented Dr. Leonard Pinchuk, BioMedSA Innovation Award Winner in 2017, who nominated Robert for this award. “His remarkable combination of scientific prowess, entrepreneurial dedication and philanthropic commitment epitomizes the kind of leadership we should hold up as an example for generations to come.”

Ward is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and received an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Lowell for his life’s work in biomaterials and medical devices. He has over 170 technical publications and more than 60 patents.

The Ward family has given nearly $2 million in philanthropic contributions to the University of Massachusetts Lowell to further advance its mission, establishing the Robert and Gail Ward Biomedical Materials Development Laboratory at the Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center; the Ward Family Chemical Engineering Endowed Scholarship Fund; and the Robert and Gail Ward Endowed Professorship in Biomedical Materials Development.

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.

The BioMedSA Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience celebrates local and national innovators in the healthcare and bioscience field, including patient care, education, research and development, leadership, public policy and medical technology. Previous recipients of the BioMedSA Award include Dr. Rena Bizios, a groundbreaking research in cell-tissue interaction (2020), Stephen Badylak, D.V.M., Ph.D., M.D., a groundbreaking researcher who discovered the use of the extracellular matrix (ECM), which has been shown to ignite cell regeneration and regrowth of damaged tissue (2019); Alan Peterson, Ph.D., ABPP, the nation’s foremost research leader in combat-related PTSD (2018); prolific biomaterials scientist and inventor Leonard Pinchuk, Ph.D., D.Sc. of Miami, Florida (2017); cancer immunotherapy pioneer George E. Peoples, Jr., M.D., FACS (2016); Nobel Prize-winning chemist W.E. (William Esco) Moerner, Ph.D. from Stanford University (2015); nationally-renowned pediatric transplant surgeon and former Chancellor of The University of Texas System, Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., (2014); world-renowned engineer, prolific medical inventor and entrepreneur Robert S. Langer, Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2013); emergency medicine physician and pioneer of leading intraosseous vascular access technology Larry Miller, M.D. (2012); President and Co-founder Leroy Hood, M.D., Ph.D. of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington (2011); former UTSA Dean of Engineering and current chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. (2010); internationally acclaimed inventor Dean Kamen of DEKA Research & Development Corp. in New Hampshire (2009); San Antonio pediatric surgeons Drs. Robert Campbell, Melvin Smith (deceased) and Kaye Wilkins from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (now known as UT Health San Antonio) and CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital (2008); president of The Commonwealth Fund in New York, Karen Davis, Ph.D. (2007); and the inaugural honoree, Julio Palmaz, M.D., of UT Health San Antonio, inventor of the Palmaz stent (2006).

BioMedSA also honored Basil A. Pruitt, Jr. M.D., one of the founding fathers of modern trauma and burn medicine, with its first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. Dr. Pruitt died in March 2019.

For details on the celebration on September 23, please go to


San Antonio, the seventh largest city in America, is increasingly recognized as a City of Science and Health as well as the Home of U.S. Military Medicine. Healthcare and bioscience are a leading engine of the city’s economy, employing more than 1 of every 6 members of the San Antonio workforce, with an annual economic impact exceeding $40 billion. San Antonio’s biomedical sector combines unique assets, diverse resources, and a tangible spirit of collaboration. Innovations that save lives around the world are being discovered, developed, and commercialized in San Antonio.

BioMedSA is a non-profit, membership-based organization, supported in part by the City of San Antonio. Its mission is to accelerate the growth of San Antonio’s healthcare and bioscience sector, create regional economic benefit, and contribute to the health of San Antonio and beyond by establishing San Antonio as a global leader in healthcare and bioscience.

ExThera Medical Corporation develops and commercializes extracorporeal blood filtration devices, including the Seraph® 100 Microbind® Affinity Blood Filter for removing a broad range of harmful substances from the bloodstream of patients. Seraph can be used in hospitals, clinics, or field hospitals to address infections caused by battlefield wounds or pandemics. ExThera Medical’s extracorporeal products have demonstrated life-saving capabilities in a wide range of critically ill patients suffering from severe infections. With a growing body of outcome and health economic evidence from independent clinical studies, participation in the DARPA Dialysis-Like Therapeutics program, and successful clinical use in the US and EU, the company is well-positioned to serve healthcare professionals and patients alike. For more information visit the company’s website at

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