Our Board of Directors

  • Paul LaViolette
  • Andrea Biffi
  • Jane H. Hsiao, PhD, MBA
  • David B. Milne
  • Richard C. Pfenniger, Jr
  • Anthony Fernando
  • William Starling

Mr. LaViolette brings nearly 30 years of experience in global medical technology marketing and general management to the Asensus board.

Before joining SV Life Sciences, an international life-science venture capital firm, in 2009, Mr. LaViolette served as chief operating officer for Boston Scientific Corp., an $8-billion medical device leader. During his 15 years with Boston Scientific, he held the positions of group president, president-cardiology and president-international as the company multiplied its revenues over 20 times. He integrated dozens of acquisitions and led extensive product development, operations and worldwide commercial organizations.

Before joining Boston Scientific, Mr. LaViolette held marketing and general management positions at CR Bard and Kendall (Tyco). In addition to his position on the Asensus board, LaViolette serves on the boards of Cameron Health, CardioFocus, Conceptus, DC Devices, Direct Flow Medical, DJO Global, Thoratec, ValenTx and Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA). He previously has served on the boards of Urologix, Percutaneous Valve Technologies and Advamed.

Mr. LaViolette received his bachelor’s of arts degree in psychology from Fairfield University and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Boston College.

Andrea Biffi was elected to the Board of Directors in September 2015. Mr. Biffi is currently the Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the Board of Directors, of SOFAR S.p.A., a position he has held since June 2015. Mr.Biffi has worked for SOFAR, or companies owned by SOFAR, since January 2008.

Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Biffi was General Manager, and a member of the Board of Directors, of SOFAR from November 2012 until June 2015; prior thereto he was CEO and President of SOFAR SWISS S.A. from February 2013 to November 2013; and prior thereto he was General Manager of SOVETA BALTICA UAB, a Lithuanian subsidiary of SOFAR from January 2008 until November 2013.

Dr. Hsiao brings to the board technical and leadership expertise in pharmaceutical, medical device and life science industries. Currently, she serves as Chief Technical Officer at OPKO Health Inc., a multi-national pharmaceutical and diagnostics company, and serves as its board Vice Chairman. Prior to the merger with Asensus, Dr. Hsiao served as Chairman of the Board of SafeSitch Medical, Inc. She also serves as Chairman of the Board and interim CEO of Non-Invasive Monitoring Systems Inc., a medical device developer. Dr. Hsiao also currently serves on the board of Neovasc, Inc., a company developing and marketing medical specialties in vascular devices. Previously, Dr. Hsiao held a number of senior management positions at IVAX Corp., including vice chairman-technical affairs, chief technical officer and chief regulatory officer. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, one of the top 10 pharma companies in the world, acquired IVAX Corp. in 2006.

David Milne brings to the board 35 years of experience as an operating executive and as a venture capital investor in the medical technology industry. He has been a Director on 16 boards in both public and private corporations and is currently a business advisor and independent board member and Chairman for several companies.  Previously he was the Managing Partner and led the medical technology practice for 13 years for SV Healthcare Ventures, a venture capital group with over $2.5b in assets under management.  He led investments in over a dozen companies including Entellus Medical (sold to Stryker, Aquesys (sold to Allergan), Mindframe (sold to Medtronic) and Spinal Kinetics (sold to Orthofix).

Before entering venture capital, Mr. Milne spent over 20 years as an operating executive in several business development, marketing, product development and sales positions.  From 1999 until 2005 he was Vice President, Business Development for Boston Scientific where he was responsible for over 50 transactions valued at greater than 2B and involved in the integration of numerous businesses.  He was also Director of Product Technology and Marketing for Cardiology and Urology divisions at Boston Scientific.  Mr.Milne started his career in international sales after receiving his undergraduate degree in 1984. He has held several positions, domestically and internationally in Product Management at SCIMED (acquired by Boston Scientific) and Becton Dickinson.  Mr Milne holds an MBA Marketing from NYU and a BS in Biology from Rutgers University.

Richard C. Pfenniger, Jr. brings to the board experience as chief executive officer, chief operating officer and general counsel. Most recently, Mr. Pfenniger served as interim CEO of IntegraMed America Inc., a privately held company offering products and services to providers and consumers in niche medical sectors. Previously, he served as CEO and president of Continucare Corp., a provider of primary care physicians, and served as its board chairman.

Additionally, Mr. Pfenniger served as CEO and vice chairman of Whitman Education Group Inc., a proprietary provider of career-oriented post-secondary education. He also has served as COO, senior vice president-legal affairs and general counsel for IVAX Corp., a manufacturer and distributor of generic pharmaceutical products later acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

Mr. Pfenniger serves as a director of GP Strategies Inc., a corporate education and training company; OPKO Health Inc., a multi-national pharmaceutical and diagnostics company; IntegraMed and prior to the merger with Asensus, served on the SafeSitch Medical Inc. board since 2005.

As President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Fernando sets the company’s overall strategic vision and oversees its organic growth. Previously, he was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer at Asensus, where he led the company’s technology strategy and global business operations.

Prior to TransEnterix, Mr. Fernando was Vice President of Innovation and Technology within the International Group at Stryker Corporation, across Stryker’s medical device portfolio. Before joining Stryker, Mr. Fernando held positions at Becton Dickinson & Company as Director, R&D Devices & Global Health, Greater Asia; PerkinElmer Inc. as Director, R&D and CoE Leader in Asia; and Varian, Inc. as Director of Operations/General Manager of the Pharmaceutical Products business unit..

Mr. Fernando earned an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and MS and BS in Mechanical Engineering with concentrations in Robotics and Automation from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

William N. Starling is managing director of Synergy Life Science Partners, and chief executive officer of Synecor, a business generator of new life–science companies. He has raised more than $300 million in capital for companies he co–founded – the combined revenues of which now reach nearly $3 billion annually. As CEO of Synecor, Mr. Starling co–founded Asensus as well as BaroSense, Bioerodible Vascular Solutions (acquired by Guidant/Abbott in April 2004), InnerPulse and Interventional Autonomics Corp. Mr. Starling serves as board chairman of InnerPulse, board chairman of Interventional Autonomics Corp., and as a board member of Asensus.

Mr. Starling began his 30–year career in medical technologies at American Edwards Laboratories (now Edwards LifeSciences). There, he was part of the founding management team, served as marketing director for Advanced Cardiovascular Systems Inc. (acquired by Guidant/Abbott) and was co-founder, vice president and board member of Ventritex Inc. (acquired by St. Jude Medical). In addition, Mr. Starling was a co–founder, board chairman, and president and CEO of Cardiac Pathways Corp. (acquired by Boston Scientific Corp.).

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mr. Starling received an MBA from the University of Southern California.

William N. Starling is managing director of Synergy Life Science Partners, and chief executive officer of Synecor, a business generator of new life–science companies. He has raised more than $300 million in capital for companies he co–founded – the combined revenues of which now reach nearly $3 billion annually. As CEO of Synecor, Mr. Starling co–founded Asensus as well as BaroSense, Bioerodible Vascular Solutions (acquired by Guidant/Abbott in April 2004), InnerPulse and Interventional Autonomics Corp. Mr. Starling serves as board chairman of InnerPulse, board chairman of Interventional Autonomics Corp., and as a board member of Asensus.

Mr. Starling began his 30–year career in medical technologies at American Edwards Laboratories (now Edwards LifeSciences). There, he was part of the founding management team, served as marketing director for Advanced Cardiovascular Systems Inc. (acquired by Guidant/Abbott) and was co-founder, vice president and board member of Ventritex Inc. (acquired by St. Jude Medical). In addition, Mr. Starling was a co–founder, board chairman, and president and CEO of Cardiac Pathways Corp. (acquired by Boston Scientific Corp.).

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mr. Starling received an MBA from the University of Southern California.

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