Longtime senior medical device executive joins new, Boulder-based startup venture
Aspero Medical, University of Colorado Boulder spinoff and Innosphere client company, announced today that James Willett has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the medical device startup company that focuses on improving gastrointestinal (GI) balloon endoscopy procedures. Founded in 2018, Aspero Medical has developed an innovative product called the APTM Balloon Overtube that will be used to assist with the diagnosis of GI disease which effects over 70 million patients annually in the United States.
“As Aspero Medical prepares to move forward with final development and manufacturing of the company’s initial product line, we sought a leader who had direct experience in the medical device industry and a proven track record of commercializing innovative technologies.” Said Mark Rentschler, Aspero Medical Chief Technology Officer. “Jim brings a diverse background across specialties in the medical device industry and the practical experience necessary to lead Aspero Medical as we move to commercialize our products.”
“I’m very excited to join both Dr. Rentschler and Dr. Steven Edmundowicz in the development and launch of this next generation technology that has the potential to greatly change the performance of GI procedures, save time for practitioners and patients, and improve patient outcomes,” said Willett.
James Willett has over 25 years of medical device experience in both startup companies and larger medical device firms. Most recently he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Vyaire Medical. Prior to that he was President of TriMedx and served eight years as Vice President and General Manager of the Covidien (now Medtronic) Respiratory Solutions business division. Willett started his career in the medical device industry at GenoType, a high-speed DNA sequencing firm that he co-founded through a technology transfer program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in communications and business from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Aspero Medical joined Innosphere’s incubation program in 2018 and graduated from the program in the summer of 2019. “Innosphere has a successful history of working with university-based technologies to turn startups into viable businesses, and to advance technologies to commercialization,” said Mike Freeman, Innosphere CEO. “Aspero Medical has an impressive team and we’re thrilled about the addition of Jim Willett. His experience in building globally focused organizations will take Aspero to the next level.”
Aspero received initial funding from the Innosphere Fund in July of 2018, and in September 2019 received a second investment from the Innosphere Fund who is leading the company’s $1.0 million seed round. The Innosphere Fund is a seed-stage venture fund that was formed to accelerate the growth and exit of Innosphere client companies.
About Aspero Medical
Aspero Medical’s technology was developed at the University of Colorado Boulder and has a differentiated medical product for use in endoscopy procedures. The product is designed to potentially improve procedure performance and outcomes. The company is focused primarily on gastrointestinal (GI) diseases which affect approximately 25% of Americans annually. The company’s medical device utilizes a patent-pending technology that creates a micro-textured balloon for balloon endoscopy procedures. https://www.asperomedical.com
Innosphere is Colorado’s leading science and technology incubator, accelerating the success of high-impact startup and scaleup companies. In addition to the program, Innosphere has real estate with offices and wet labs, and a seed stage venture capital fund.
Innosphere’s program focuses on ensuring companies are investor-ready, connecting founders with experienced advisors and early hires, making introductions to corporate partners, exit planning, and accelerating top line revenue growth. Innosphere supports entrepreneurs in many industries, including but not limited to: bioscience, medical device, B2B software solutions, FinTech, smart cities, and artificial intelligence. Innosphere has been supporting startups for over 20 years, has locations in Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Castle Rock, and is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a strong mission to create jobs and grow Colorado’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. innosphereventures.org