Close this search box.

Chris Springate: A Visionary Catalyst for Healthier Lives

Chris Springate
Chris Springate

Visionary leaders in the healthcare landscape act as pillars of progress, guiding the industry towards groundbreaking solutions and improved patient outcomes. One such leading figure making significant strides in global healthcare from a base in Canada is Chris Springate, the esteemed CEO of ARC Medical Inc. As a seasoned professional with over 25 years of experience in the development and commercialization of medical devices, drugs, and combination products, Chris embodies the qualities of a true visionary.

ARC Medical is a clinical-stage company dedicated to preventing surgical complications. Chris leads the organization with a forward-thinking perspective, innovative ideas, and a clear sense of purpose. ARC Medical addresses one of the largest unmet medical needs in a market often overlooked—the prevention of surgical adhesions.

A substantial number of the more than 300 million surgeries performed worldwide each year lead to adhesions, with the highest likelihood — reported to be well over 50% — occurring in surgeries involving the abdomen or pelvis. Under Chris’s guidance, the company has pioneered a non-viscous liquid, biopolysaccharide therapeutic, forming a revolutionary barrier film to prevent surgical adhesions throughout the entire surgical site.

In our exclusive interview with Chris, we got a glimpse of his inspirational journey, exploring the motivations and strategies that drive him as he steers ARC Medical towards commercial success.

Tell us about your professional background and highlight the significant points in your career that led you to your position.

I’ve always known since I was young that I was going to be involved in building businesses. In high school I really enjoyed things like organic chemistry and biochemistry. I also figured out that I really like helping people and helping people to lead healthier lives. What came out of that was getting involved in biotech and MedTech companies.

Eventually I got a consultant position with Angiotech Pharmaceuticals while I was doing my Graduate Studies. I was really fortunate to be part of Angiotech, which designed and developed the Taxus drug-eluting stent which was partnered with Boston Scientific. I then co-founded ARC with Bruce Hay, who was a fantastic mentor.

Give an overview of ARC Medical. Shed some light on its mission and vision statements.

So, with ARC, we really focus on this large unmet medical need and large markets for surgical adhesions, which are one of the last unmet and common complications following surgery –   these abnormal fibrous growths that form inside the body after common surgical procedures.

A core part of the intellectual property at ARC involves a polysacchariade – a polymer made up of sugar units – called fucoidan, which is extracted from seaweed. We licensed this technology from the University of British Columbia and built our technology platform from there.

With a company of our size, the mission and vision of the company is going to be reflective of the CEO’s mission and vision and the culture that the CEO cultivates and builds as well.  We’re really here to make a difference in patients’ lives. That’s not going to be done by a generic me-too kind of product.

What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?

Anything worth doing is going to be tough and challenging. We had our initial challenge in that the fucoidan material coming out of the seaweed was extremely crude and very high in endotoxins – so not safe for putting into the body of an animal or human.

So, we spent lots of money and several years building an internal team figuring out how to chemically modify this polysaccharide and how to purify it, so the endotoxin is ultra-low and appropriate for use in a medical device that is a temporary implant in the body. We ended up building our own manufacturing facility in Vancouver British Columbia Canada in order to do that and in order to manufacture the ultra-purified polysaccharide. So, it’s now an ISO-1345 certified GMP facility.

Other challenges in our industry are that we are capital intensive – it is millions of dollars to get a PMA pre-market application approved in the United States, and it is a long timeframe.  Some investors have that patience, but not all. We’ve been fortunate to have committed investors to build out our manufacturing facilities. We have seven separate patent families.

How do you stay up to date with the latest trends and developments in healthcare, and how do you incorporate them into your work at ARC Medical?

To begin with, we participate regularly in industry-related conferences, with a clear, pre-planned schedule. But our fantastic team members are critical as well – they have their own eyes and ears, and they are looking at and seeing different things. Every week during our functional update meeting, one of the first questions of the session is what new market or competitive insights they have to share. So, every week, people share what they’ve learned with the whole team.

Can you tell us about any new developments or initiatives that ARC Medical is currently working on?

We have two very broad ideas that we are focused on at ARC. One is gynecological and abdominal surgeries and the other is orthopedic surgeries, including knee, shoulder and other joints as well. There is so much for us to do in these areas. Just in the United States, for instance, there would be four or five separate indications, so four or five separate clinical trials. So, there is a lot of work to do over the next several years to get a fantastic data package around all these indications and help all these different surgical patients.

What advice would you give to young professionals who are just starting their careers in healthcare?

I encourage you to take the time and effort to figure out what your purpose or mission really is in life at a high level. Not, “Oh, I want to be a doctor” or “Oh I want to be a chief scientific officer”. But, what at a very high level do you want to do and how do you want to help people – at a very high level. For me as an example, I have two goals. One is family related.  The one that is not family-related is that I want to help current and future generations lead and live healthier lives. I want what I’m doing to have a meaningful positive impact on the health of people. But everybody must have their own beacon that tells them how they are going to get up each day to help people.

What are your future plans and goals for your career and for ARC Medical?

I’m 100% focused on ARC. We’re very clear that our mandate is to get our products on to the market and then help three million or more patients every year recover better from surgery.  So that is our resolute focus. Our next step is to get human surgical patient proof of concept efficacy data. Our next step after that is to do the pivotal clinical trials to get the required approvals and then launch and market.

Exploring Diverse Avenues

Chris dedicates considerable time not only to share ARC’s mission, vision, and progress but also extends his expertise to diverse topics. An honored speaker on various platforms, he delves into critical subjects such as clinical MedTech early-stage funding, drawing from his wealth of experience.

Another focal point of Chris’s discussions is navigating regulatory challenges, a topic rooted in his extensive work with medical devices globally, both in the United States and Canada. His insights shed light on overcoming hurdles in a complex regulatory landscape.



Copyright 2023 © Insightscare Magazine ( a Digital Ink brand ) All rights reserved.