Patrick Sabaria, a medical device pioneer who helped establish the intraocular lens and the coronary stent in Europe, passed away unexpectedly last month. Sabaria was 61.
After a short stint at Pharmacia in the early 1980s, Sabaria was hired to establish a French presence for Johnson & Johnson‘s (NYSE:JNJ) then-new Iolab subsidiary, rising to vice president and general manager of Iolab Europe in 1992, according to a press release.
After J&J moved into interventional cardiology in the early 1990s, Sabaria helped build the Palmaz coronary stent into a blockbuster in Europe. The business was generating a $1 billion within 18 months, "making it the most successful medical device product launch in history, a distinction it still holds," according to the release. Sabaria then moved to KeraVision as EU president, overseeing the European launch of its Intacs procedure for keratoconus and Lasik ecstasia. He subsequently co-founded Arterial Remodeling, helping to invent, develop and commercialize AR’s biodegradable stent. Sabaria also served as a strategic advisor for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Mercator MedSystems, according to the release.
"Patrick was a consummate professional and remarkable innovator, who dedicated his life to advancing medicine and improving healthcare worldwide. He was not only a respected and valuable colleague, he was my close friend," Mercator Medsystems chairman & CEO Thomas Loarie said in a prepared statement. "My friend Patrick was still deeply engaged in innovation and the commercialization of cutting-edge medical technologies when he died."
"Patrick established the Iolab business first in France, then managed its European expansion in the early ‘80s when very few cataract patients were implanted with intra ocular lenses. Most ophthalmologists were skeptical of the technology. Due to Patrick’s professional, honest marketing approach, today, almost 100% of French cataract patients enjoy the benefit of this technology. He is recognized by all as a true pioneer in our industry. He will be missed as a friend and business associate," added John Gilbert, the then-president of Iolab who hired Sabaria.
Sabaria is survived by wife Marianne; a daughter, Marjorie, and a son, Aymeric; and granddaughter Eva.