Berkeley, California -- Emergence Venture Partners (EVP) has announced that Bob Ward has been made chairman, effective immediately.
EVP is a venture capital firm focused on investing in companies which utilise novel biomedical polymertechnology in the development of medical devices and prostheticimplants.
Ward has had a long and influential career in this sector, most recently, since May 2008 as president and ceo of DSM PTG. This biomedical polymers unit, formerly the Polymer Technology Group (PTG) co-founded by Ward in 1989, was acquired by Royal DSM NV in 2008.
Ward has spent nearly 40 years developing novel biomedical polymers, focussing on polyurethanes, and EVP's announcement said, "his inventions have become the enabling technology for many medical devices being marketed today."
For his achievements, Ward was given the "2006 Excellence in Surface Science Award" by the Surfaces in Biomaterials Foundation -- an acknowledgement of his lifetime of contributions to the field of surface sciences in the development of biomedical polyurethanes for cardiovascular and other uses.
EVP said Ward's career spans the early days of the intra-aortic balloon pumps and ventricular assist devices to modern- day spinal implants, and he has made "significant contributions to the field of medical devices."
This is exemplified, the company notes, by the introduction of Biospan, Bionate, and Elasthane as high-quality, well-defined replacement biomaterials at a crucial time when legal pressures led to the complete absence of these materials from the medtech marketplace.
Ward's contributions continue with development of the highly novel Surface Modifying End Group technology. This is allowing device manufacturers to specify particular surface interfacial chemistries while retaining the desirable bulk properties of polyurethanes. Such achievements continue to advance the science and engineering of biomaterials interface, said EVP.
"When Bob Ward co-founded PTG in 1989, there was a medical device crisis looming," said George Pitarra, president and managing director, EVP. "Suppliers of materials used to make medical devices -- 'biomaterials' -- were alarmed by massive class action lawsuits.
"These lawsuits, which were primarily related to bodily injury from temporo-mandibular and breast implants, convinced material suppliers to pull out of the medical market," Pittara continued, noting that, "This left medical device manufacturers high and dry.
"Where would they get the specialised biomaterials necessary to make their artificial hearts, pacemakers and intra-aortic balloons? This huge void was filled by the Polymer Technology Group, led by Bob Ward. Emergence is extremely excited to have Bob join our team as chairman."