ABK Biomedical Inc., a Halifax medical device startup, said Thursday it has appointed founder Bob Abraham as its new CEO, succeeding industry vet Pat O’Connor.

The company had had bases in both Halifax and Ireland, but under Abraham’s leadership it will consolidate its operations in Halifax.  

ABK is the developer of OccluRad — tiny bio-compatible glass beads used to treat uterine fibroids, or benign tumours, in a woman’s uterus. The product improves efficiency and safety when treating women for the affliction. The company hopes to have OccluRad on the market in Europe in the second quarter of 2015, and in the U.S. and Canada shortly after that.

The company recently made news because of two notable events involving financing.  First, ABK in the spring was awarded a $2.14 million loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Atlantic Innovation Fund. And second it raised about $1 million through the First Angel Network and a range of other angel networks from across North America.

A spokesperson for ABK said O’Connor, who had spent years working for some of the world’s largest medical device companies, took the company through its crucial product development phase during which his experience and management skills were invaluable.

“The consolidation required a CEO in Halifax and Pat was unable to make the move,” she said. “Given that ABK is entering the clinical validation phase of OccluSystem as well as launching a locally led AIF on pipeline development, the board chose Bob as the CEO to move ABK forward in this next stage of growth.”

The AIF award will enable ABK to simplify and enhance chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer patients with ABK’s novel radiopaque embolic beads.  The company is also proceeding with the lead product’s first-in-human trials and advancing other products, including one to help with the treatment of liver cancer.

“As a nationally recognized embolization expert, we are delighted to have Dr. Abraham as our new, full-time CEO,” said Aaron Berez, chairman of the board of ABK Biomedical. “His experience as a clinician, entrepreneur and med tech investor as well as his dedication to patients and passion for innovation make him the ideal candidate to lead ABK Biomedical.”

Abraham has spent more than 20 years as a practicing clinician and interventionalradiologist at Capital Health in Halifax. He has successfully licensed catheter innovations and established the Uterine Fibroid Embolization program at QEII Health Sciences Centre and IWK in 2001. He was a founder of ABK along with Dalhousie University researcher Daniel Boyd.


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