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Arbutus Medical

Arbutus' FDA approved Drill Cover turns any drill into a safe surgical device for emerging markets with nearly $200k in revenue, distribution, and a strong team

  • Stage Full Product Ready
  • Industry Medical Devices and Equipment
  • Location Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Currency CAD
  • Founded December 2014
  • Employees 9
  • Incorporation Type C-corp
  • Website

Company Summary

We design & commercialize radically affordable medical devices for surgery across emerging markets. Current product portfolio includes a series of surgical power tools, fully FDA/Health Canada/ISO certified, to date treating 30,000+ patients. $200k in revenue/orders (just launched Nov'16). Distributors signed across EAfrica and LatAm, 7 more in negotiation. Experienced team with sales experience in India/Africa. Existing military sales in Canada.


  • - Leads market strategy with 7 years experience in social enterprise and market development across Africa, including co-founding a socially-driven manufacturing venture in Ghana reaching $120,000 in revenue in 6 months (Engineers Without Borders Canada, International Development Enterprises, SMIDO).
    - Previously consulted professionally as a medical device design and usability specialist at a global design and innovation firm (Continuum).

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    Michael Liggett

    Mike has been a CFO for public and private companies for over 17 years, completing over $300MM in financing and closing nearly $200MM in acquisition transactions. He has negotiated and structured strategic partnerships, and helped a number of companies to improve operations, cut costs, and unlock value for shareholders.

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    Director of Sales & Marketing

    Tyler leads sales and marketing. Previously Tyler was employee #2 at BlueTech Research, and working along side their CEO, built it into the leading global market research firm in the water sector. Tyler analyzed and developed strategy on market entry, acquisition, and advised both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. Before that he consulted on behalf of Engineers Without Borders Canada to the Government of Zambia.

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    New Country Scout

    Ryan is a fire-cracker of energy and talent when it comes to business development in the emerging market / social enterprise sector. Over the past 7 years he has worked with leading names including Off.Grid Electric, SteamaCo, Spire Education, and is a serial entrepreneur himself. Ryan has worked in 10+ African countries and also in India helping start-ups to grow their sales, develop channels, and scale innovations to millions of new customers.

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    East and South Africa Manager

    Mike is Zimbabwean-born with a UK business degree. He has spent the last 6 years building and managing distribution, developing sales networks, and building strong teams both in the UK and across Africa. Most recently Mike working with the start-up FuturePump, and prior to this he worked in recruiting, hiring and building successful teams in a number of industries.

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    Elise Huisman
    Director of Clinical Impact & Veterinary Manager

    Elise holds a PhD in orthopaedics, and worked as a global medical device market research analyst. With 6 years of research experience she now leads clinical research and impact measurement at Arbutus. In addition to this, Elise has been leading our veterinary sales program, taking us from early sales in January 2016 to now having 1 signed European distributor and two of the top global distributors in negotiation with a scope of 80+ countries.

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    Director of R&D

    Fedja has spent 20 years developing medical devices in three past successful start-ups. He has developed comprehensive design plans for a range of devices spanning from complex infusion technologies to Class III implantable cardiac and neurovascular devices. He has led products through regulatory approvals and has seen each of these three ventures through to significant revenue and success. These include Pyng Medical, Neovasc, and Evasc Medical.

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    Michael Cancilla
    Director of Engineering & QA/RA

    Michael brings medical device design, manufacturing, and project management experience from his time at Verathon Medical, Vancouver Coastal Health, and Health & Sherwood. He worked in the mining and manufacturing industry before shifting to medical devices and recently pursuing an MEng in Biomedical Engineering. At Arbutus, he led our regulatory efforts to achieve ISO 13485 quality certification, as well as FDA, Health Canada, and CE submissions.

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    Lawrence Buchan
    Director of Operations

    Lawrence is a talented, high-achieving young engineer with three key characteristics - technical background, leadership capacity, and emotional quotient - ideally suited to developing strong, long-lasting relationships with supply chain partners. He has successfully executed the transition to full-scale production, keeping the final BOM cost of the launched product within 2% of early projections – while maintaining quality to ISO13485 standards.

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    Lead Design Engineer

    Radu brings 6 years of engineering design experience to Arbutus. Previous work experience includes roles of Systems Engineer and Sales Support Manager, and volunteering with the Tetra Society that makes innovative technologies for people with disabilities. Before Arbutus, Radu co-founded and led a spin-off of the Tetra Society called Tetra Gear, where as CEO he led the commercialization of a safety device for wheelchairs and cyclists.

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    Tom Urban
    Board of Directors

    Tom is a trusted advisor and mentor to Arbutus through the entrepreneurship@UBC program. Tom spent nearly a decade leading CellFor in the role of President and Chief Executive Officer. He previously worked with Goldman Sachs, then spent 14 years in the ag-tech sector. He brings a deep understanding of what makes a start-up company successful and has direct experience managing sales, production and R&D. Tom holds an MBA from Harvard.

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    Michelle Welsh
    Board of Directors

    Michelle is an owner and VP Sales and Business Development of the Canadian-based medical device firm priMED. She has been a very hands-on mentor to Arbutus for over 12 months, joining the team on trips across Africa to help develop and coach the global team, engage with distribution partners, and understand the markets in which Arbutus operates. Michelle is extremely passionate about Arbutus’ work and is committed to our success.

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    Board of Directors

    In Steve’s last role as Director for Africa at Johnson & Johnson, he led the company’s sales and marketing efforts across the continent, primarily focused on medical devices in the surgical space, including orthopaedics. He has spent nearly 20 years leading sales and marketing of medical devices across low and middle income markets in Africa and the Middle East. Today he is the Commercial Director for a growing business unit at Nestle.

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    Darrell Elliott
    Board of Directors

    Darrell is an Advisor and Consultant to Grand Challenges Canada, representing them on Arbutus’ board. Prior to this he was CEO and Chairman of a number of healthcare ventures, Managing Director of MDS Capital Corp, and spent nearly a decade as Managing Director and Regional VP of Royal Bank Capital Corp.

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    Rajnish Rohatgi
    India Manager

    Rajnish has been working for 26 years to develop new business models for bringing innovative products and services to market across India. His last two roles at Becton Dickinson and Unilever saw him develop and put into action successful last-mile distribution, sales, and marketing strategies for medical devices and other healthcare products. He previously worked with the Max Healthcare chain of hospitals in India.


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    Dr. Piotr Blachut
    Advisor - Orthopaedic Surgery
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    Dr. Jaymie Henry
    Advisor - Global Surgery
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    Dr. Peter O'Brien

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