The Chief’s Digest had the pleasure of interacting with Dr. Peter Forsell on novel medical treatments and the way they can change the future of healthcare.
Here’s his story and excerpts from the insights he shared.
Dr. Peter Forsell
Dr. Peter Forsell is a distinguished inventor, surgeon, founder, and Medical Device serial entrepreneur originally from the country of great medical technology innovations, Sweden.
Dr. Forsell is the CEO and Founder of Implantica AG and the brain behind the company’s first commercialized product, RefluxStop™. The device obtained the CE mark in 2018 after a very successful clinical trial and has the potential to create a paradigm shift in the treatment of acid reflux.
Dr. Forsell is an internationally renowned specialist in surgery and obtained his medical degree at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. He has also studied basic law, tax, and finance. Prior to founding Implantica, he was the Executive Chairman of Obtech Medical AG, who developed the gastric band and captured 28% of the non-US obesity surgery market. It was later sold to Johnson & Johnson for over USD 175 million. As CEO, he is focused on guiding Implantica to the next level.
Leading an organization toward growth and success is definitely not an easy feat. In what circumstances did you find your leadership spirit?
I have always been curious to find solutions for the difficult problems I have encountered in my patients’ lives. And that was the foundation of my vision for creating Implantica to leverage technology in improving patient outcomes and transforming the world around us with smart implantable solutions.
During my long journey with Obtech, I gained extensive experience on how to lead and develop a business from inception to a successful global enterprise. In my experience, at the core of a company’s success, lies its people and a shared vision. This shared vision is how we have successfully attracted some of the finest world-class talents around the world.
Tell us about your organization. How does it provide value to consumers or society at large?
Implantica is all about changing the world to become a better place for patients at the core and society at large. With over 15 years of extensive research and development work, with main operations in the heart of Switzerland along with subsidiaries and key partners in the US, Sweden, and many other countries, Implantica has been at the forefront of disrupting the field of smart medical implants and eHealth technologies with an initial focus on urology and digestive surgery.
At Implantica, we develop world-changing novel medical treatments. Our first commercial product, RefluxStop, is a profoundly simple yet incredibly smart & unique solution to treat the root cause of Acid Reflux that impacts more than 1 billion people worldwide. RefluxStop is the first implantable medical device that truly restores and maintains the normal physiology of the body, known as the anti-reflux barrier. In such a short time, we are very proud to have won the trust of some of the best Anti-Reflux Surgeons in the world. The product has already created a huge impact on the lives of patients in Switzerland, Germany, UK among others and we believe this is just the beginning of a global movement.
Beyond RefluxStop, Implantica is simultaneously working on the development of a diverse product pipeline of groundbreaking smart medical implants. Our vision is to become the leader of the smart implant revolution of the future.
What are your responsibilities as the CEO of your organization?
I love football and, in some ways, I see myself as a Coach of an incredibly talented team where my key responsibility is to share my vision with the team and guide each member of the organization to bring out their best to make Implantica’s dream of creating a long-lasting positive impact on patients and society at large a reality.
I take this responsibility very seriously as the success of the company does not only impact employees but also future patient care. As a humble gesture of my commitment, I would like to share that I have personally invested close to 100 million US dollars in the creation of Implantica over the past decade prior to our very successful IPO in 2020, in total raising almost USD 200 million. We have a strong cash position to continue to grow Implantica into a large successful company.
As a leader, what is the biggest challenge you have faced while commercializing RefluxStop?
My prior experiences taught me, every technology has its own unique challenges, but you will prevail if you stay focused, committed, and don’t give up. RefluxStop journey is no different. We launched RefluxStop commercially at the end of 2018, just before the start of COVID. At the beginning of 2020, most hospitals had discontinued doing elective procedures and our whole world changed overnight. This severely impacted our ability to access the key markets. The good news is, we were able to sustain and use this downtime to work on market development activities and further advance our overall business strategy.
We are very happy that most of the restrictions during COVID have been lifted now allowing us to make tremendous progress in implementing our market access and commercialization plans.
What do you do when you come across new or unpopular ideas that could be beneficial for the organization?
New ideas and concepts are the foundation of our strong culture of innovation and commercialization, we are very open-minded and excited about new ideas. Living within an ever-changing market landscape, all ideas should always be considered. I don’t believe we have ever labeled an idea as unpopular before having a healthy, open conversation, guaranteeing that the best ideas are driven forward.
How crucial is the role of technology and innovation in any organization? Have you taken any steps to innovate at the technological level?
Technology and innovation are critical. Advanced technology has totally changed our daily lives and is at the heart of what we do. Patented new smart implants previously seen as unachievable have become viable with our innovative wireless energizing and eHealth platform. Individual product patents comprising >2000 patent cases support Implantica’s ability to change Healthcare fundamentally. Technology has developed at high speed outside the body; however, these advancements have not reached inside the body. Implantica has spent over a decade developing and patenting how to bring such advances into the body.
If there is one word that would describe you, what would it be and why?
Devoted. As a surgeon, I have dedicated all my life to developing solutions and technologies that could positively change people’s lives and I am 100% devoted to my personal mission.
What are your plans for the immediate future, and how do you hope to see your organization and team grow?
Our vision is to become the world leader in smart medical implants, and I am sure we will accomplish that goal sooner or later. While we are developing our pipeline of world-changing products, our plan for the immediate future is to continue the commercialization of RefluxStop in Europe and soon enter the US and other international markets with regulatory approvals.
Of the one billion people affected by acid reflux, around 400 million of those are suffering from it daily. We are on a mission to help these patients and create a new standard of care that can address the root cause of this severe disease condition. Speaking from our shareholders’ perspective, RefluxStop is our number one priority with the potential to have a huge positive impact on healthcare systems while offering a multibillion-dollar business opportunity that we believe will become a reality over the coming years.
“Our mission is to provide medical implant solutions to millions of patients with substantial medical needs and at the same time save costs for society.”