Acera Surgical, Inc. is working to develop a portfolio of fully synthetic surgical materials that act as resorbable scaffolds for soft tissue repair and regeneration. Acera’s products are aimed at improving surgical efficiency, reducing surgical complications and cost, and facilitating superior clinical outcomes. Acera Surgical, Inc. is run by a dynamic and diverse team including the founder and co-inventor of the platform technology underlying the Cerafix® Dura Substitute products.
EXPERIENCED MANAGEMENT TEAM
Julie Cochran, COO: Julie has been with Acera since 2012. During her tenure she has taken on multiple roles including business development, finance, and human resources and she has been a key player in the company’s growth and success. She now manages Acera’s distribution strategy, and has taken a leading role in operations, corporate governance, and strategic planning. Prior to Acera, Julie was a consultant at McKinsey & Co., serving clients across the healthcare spectrum. She then held multiple roles at Express Scripts, Inc. including VP of Strategic Planning and VP of Product Management. Julie holds an MBA from Stanford University and graduated summa cum laude with a BSE in both Biomedical and Electrical Engineering from Duke University. Aside from boasting a marked obsession with Star Wars, Julie enjoys cross-fit, time at the family farm, and serves as Acera’s official Pi-Day coordinator.
Tamás Kovács, Sr. Director, Product Management: An Acera team member since 2012, Tamás is responsible for managing key suppliers and integrating their workflows to help realize Acera’s product development efforts. Tamás also works to ensure a healthy product supply-chain while playing a leading role in the implementation of Acera’s quality and regulatory requirements. He has experience designing and executing pre-clinical studies, and with the help of Acera’s regulatory consultant, he spearheaded the FDA submission efforts on Acera’s lead product, Cerafix®. Prior to joining Acera, Tamás worked in Asia for nearly two years as a senior business analyst for Express Scripts, Inc. After obtaining a BS in Operations Research and Information Systems Engineering, he went on to earn a MEng in Engineering Management, both degrees from Cornell University. In his off time, Tamás enjoys cycling, soccer, reading spy novels, and dousing everything in hot sauce prior to consumption.
Dr. Matthew MacEwan, President and Chief Scientist: Matthew is the co-inventor of Acera’s nanotechnology platform and co-founder of the company. He is currently responsible for managing Acera’s IP and patent portfolio, new product research and the design and implementation of clinical studies. Matthew graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University with a specialization in polymer biomaterials / biomaterial biocompatibility, and then went on to complete his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University. Matthew received his MD training from Washington University School of Medicine. Matthew has a passion for fly-fishing, fine dining experiences, and “nerding out.”
Agnès Rey-Giraud, CEO: Agnès is one of the two founding members of Acera Surgical. She played an essential role in devising the initial commercialization strategy, recruiting the team and securing financial backing in order to bring the concept to fruition. Aside from being a mentor for everyone on the team, she currently manages the company’s growth strategy, fund-raising efforts, and critical contract negotiation. Agnès is a former Officer of Express Scripts, Inc., where she served multiple roles, including Product Development, Supply Chain, Corporate Strategy and International Operations. Agnès holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and an engineering degree from ENISE, France. In her free time, Agnès enjoys trekking in remote locations, working on her golf swing, and riding high-powered motorized vehicles.
Wenqi Yue, Manager, Program Development: Wenqi became an Acera team member in 2016. She is responsible for project management and leading Acera’s international expansion. She also supports implementation of Acera’s quality and regulatory requirements. Prior to joining Acera, Wenqi worked in Houston, Texas for two years doing project management in the oil and gas industry. She obtained a BS in Economics and MEng in Chemical Engineering, both from Washington University in St. Louis. She has lived and worked in different countries. Wenqi enjoys cooking, weightlifting, and traveling. She finished her first marathon in 2017.
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
Acera Surgical’s Clinical, Scientific, and Business Advisory Boards are composed of nationally recognized surgeons, scientists, and executives with specific expertise in the medical device industry. Members of Acera’s Advisory Boards include:
Clinical Advisory Board – Neurosurgery
Ralph Dacey, MD, is the Chief of Neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO and a key opinion leader in the field of neurosurgery both domestically and internationally. Dr. Dacey is a world-renowned neurosurgeon, Past President of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and was recently elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine. Dr. Dacey has built an exceptional academic career and research background publishing key papers in prominent neurosurgical journals.
Wilson Zachary Ray, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. Dr. Ray’s clinical practices focuses on the treatment of spinal cord injuries, spinal cord tumors, spinal surgery, nerve transfers, neurological surgery and brachial plexus tumors.
Eric Leuthardt, MD is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery, Biomedical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Washington University School of Medicine and is the Director of the Center for Innovation in Neurosurgical Technology at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Dr. Leuthardt is a national leader in functional neurosurgery, spinal surgery, and the treatment of epilepsy.
Pablo Recinos, MD is an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and the Section Head at the Brain Tumor and Neurooncology Center at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH. Dr. Recinos is a nationally recognized leader in neurooncology, tumor surgery, and skull base surgery having trained at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of North Carolina Health Care Center.
Spiros Blackburn, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Texas McGovern Medical School in Houston, TX and is a member of one of the premier programs in the nation for comprehensive cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery. Dr. Blackburn provides neurosurgical evaluations of hemorrhagic stroke patients and performs endovascular procedures, including the removal of artery-blocking blood clots, coiling of cerebral aneurysms and carotid artery stenting. He also performs open cerebrovascular surgical procedures, such as aneurysm clipping, carotid endarterectomy and removal of arteriovenous malformations.
Clinical Advisory Board – General Surgery / Hernia Repair
Guy Voeller, MD is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Tennessee HealthScience Center in Memphis, TN. Dr. Voeller is a Founding Member and Past President of the American Hernia Society and a nationally recognized leader in hernia repair surgery. Dr. Voeller has been involved in the development and advancement of numerous surgical technologies in the area of hernia repair materials. Dr. Voeller’s clinical practice focuses on minimally invasive surgery for treatment of disease of the colon, gall bladder, inguinal / ventral / hiatal hernias, spleen, and the adrenal glands.
Business Advisory Board
Ron Dees, MBA, is the founder of Opportunity Capital LLC and during the last five years he has started, acquired or provided financing for twelve (12) privately held companies or commercial real estate projects. Also, he provides consulting and advisory services to healthcare organizations and for-profit corporations. Mr. Dees was previously President and CEO of Watermill Express LLC (Denver, CO) where he re-organized the company and completed the integration of 8 acquisitions. The company manufactures water purification equipment and provides purified water to consumers in the southern and western states. In addition, he was President of Bonne Bell Inc. (Lakewood, Ohio) for 12 years which is a consumer products manufacturer with domestic and international operations. Both companies are privately held and experienced significant growth in revenue and profits under his leadership. Mr. Dees received his BS and MS degrees in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He is also a graduate of the Wharton Advanced Management Program and the Stanford Executive Program for Growing Companies.