MedCity News Q&A: Hemosphere CEO Doris Engibous

April 13, 2010 by MedCity News

Hemosphere CEO Doris Engibous on her move from corporate life to leading a small start-up and what sets the company's hemodialysis products apart.

MedCity News logo

By Brandon Glenn

After more than 20 years in corporate America, Doris Engibous says she was “big-companied out.”

So the medical technology veteran jumped at the opportunity to move from California to Minnesota six years ago to become a first-time CEO for Hemosphere Inc., which has developed a vein-access device for chronic kidney disease patients who need hemodialysis.

Since then, Engibous has led Hemosphere to several notable victories, including a $9.3 million Series A round last month led by Kaiser Permanente Ventures and Cleveland’s Mutual Capital Partners.

The company’s device, called the HeRO, was approved by the Food & Drug Administration in 2008. The device is made of a tube and a graft that are implanted under a patient’s skin to allow for arterial access. Hemosphere recently hit a major milestone when the one-thousandth patient (PDF) was implanted with the device. The 25-employee company has doubled its workforce during the past two years. More importantly, at least to its shareholders, Hemosphere is on track to more than double last year's sales, to $6 million in 2010, Engibous said.

Prior to Hemosphere, Engibous spent 17 years in marketing and operations with Nellcor, an oximeter maker that was eventually acquired by medical supply giant Covidien.

Engibous spoke with MedCity News about why Hemosphere figures to be an attractive acquisition target for device firms in the coming years, and its plans for its latest round of funding.

MedCity News: What problem does the HeRO solve? What’s the alternative treatment and why is the HeRO better?