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01: Press Releases

02: Management Team

Katherine D. Crothall, Ph.D

President, CEO and Chairman

Kathy joined Aspire as its President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board in November 2010. Prior to Aspire, Kathy was a Principal at Liberty Venture Partners, a venture capital firm located in Philadelphia, from 2006 until November 2010. Prior to Liberty, Kathy was Founder, President, and CEO of Animas Corporation (NASDAQ: PUMP), a leading manufacturer of insulin infusion pumps located in West Chester, PA, from its inception to its acquisition by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Corporation (NYSE: JNJ) in February 2006. Prior to Animas, Kathy was also the Founder, President, and CEO of two other medical device companies; Luxar Corporation (Seattle, WA) was founded in 1988 and was sold to ESC Medical (NASDAQ: ESCMF), and Laakmann Electro-Optics, founded in 1978, was sold to Johnson & Johnson in 1981. Kathy continued running Laakmann Electro-Optics for five years post-acquisition.

Kathy received her BS from University of Pennsylvania and her PhD from University of Southern California, both in Electrical Engineering. She holds over 20 patents and is the recipient of several awards including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003 and the Greater Philadelphia Raymond Rafferty Entrepreneurial Excellence Award in 2004. Kathy is a director of Adhezion BioMedical and Xanitos, Inc. She is also an overseer of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.

Audrey Finkelstein

Executive VP Sales, Marketing and Clinical Support

Audrey is the Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Clinical Support for Aspire Bariatrics. Since March 2009, she served as Worldwide Vice President of Advocacy and Professional Relations for LifeScan and Animas Corporation, both part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. Prior to that, she was the Executive Vice President of Clinical & Government Affairs for LifeScan and Animas beginning May 2006. Previously, Audrey was the Executive Vice President - Marketing, Sales, and Clinical Affairs of Animas Corporation from May 2003. From November 1998 to April 2003, she served as the Vice President of Marketing and Clinical Affairs. Prior to this position, Audrey was Director of Clinical Affairs at Luxar Corporation, and subsequently at ESC Medical Systems, which acquired Luxar. Audrey is a Director of Taking Control of Your Diabetes, Children with Diabetes, and Put Up Your Dukes. She received her BA from Baruch College.

Monica Ferrante

Vice President of Regulatory and Quality

Monica joined the Aspire team in 2011. She has over 25 years of experience across medical device regulatory affairs, quality systems, and clinical trials, with start-ups through large multi-national corporations. Prior to Aspire, Monica served as VP of Regulatory and Quality for NeoForce Group Inc., where she developed and gained Certification for the Quality System, completed engineering validation and regulatory approvals for multiple products, and won several GPO Contracts. Before that, Monica was a key participant in the acquisition of Hill-Rom Air Shields by Draeger Medical and then served as Director of Regulatory and Quality for the Infant Care, Ventilator and Anesthesia divisions and acting Director for Patient Monitoring. Prior positions include Director of Regulatory and Quality for Animas Corp, Surgical Laser Technologies and Hewlett Packard Medical Products Group. Monica received her BS in Biomedical Engineering from Catholic University, and her MS in Physiology from Georgetown. She also received her MPA and DPA in Public Policy from USC. She currently holds one issued patent and one pending patent.

Toni Harp

Vice President of Reimbursement

Toni joined Aspire Bariatrics in 2015 and is responsible for all aspects of the Reimbursement and Health Policy efforts including Payer Strategy & Access, Payer Policy, and Reimbursement Services. Prior to joining Aspire Bariatrics, Toni was National Director of Reimbursement Strategy and Health Policy for Neuronetics, Inc., a manufacturer of a device to treat depression, for over 6 years. Under her leadership, the number of covered lives increased from 625K to 230M in 4 years, capitalizing on relationships with physicians to garner advocates and her payer relationships to secure medical coverage policies with commercial and Medicare payers. Prior to joining Neuronetics, Inc. she was Director of Reimbursement for Allergan Medical in charge of all aspects of the reimbursement for the LAP- BAND® System. Key accomplishments include increasing medical policy from payers 286% in 8 months, including Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Plans, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, and TRICARE. Prior to Allergan, Toni previously held positions as Director of Managed Care and Associate Vice President of Case Management with Tenet Healthcare.

Christy Kaupinen

Vice President of Marketing

Christy joined Aspire in June 2011 has over 15 years of medical device and pharmaceutical experience across sales, marketing, and business development. Prior to Aspire, Christy held various roles at Synthes, a leading global orthopedics company acquired by Johnson & Johnson for $21B, including as a Sales Consultant for the U.S. Craniomaxillofacial Division and as a business development professional within its Soft Tissue Solutions Division. Previous experience includes Product Marketing at Medtronic’s Endovascular Innovations Division, and Business Development at Othera Pharmaceuticals, an early-stage company developing novel therapeutics in ophthalmology and oncology. Christy began her career at Putnam Associates, a premier strategy consulting firm focused on the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors. Christy received her M.B.A. in Health Care Management from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and her B.A. in Economics from Princeton University.

Jim McGee

Vice President of Patient Services

Jim is responsible for implementing and maintaining the systems to facilitate sales, billings, and collections in a managed care environment. Prior to Aspire, Jim fulfilled this same role at Tandem, an insulin pump manufacturer, as well as overseeing field sales. Jim joined Tandem in 2008. Prior to Tandem, Jim most recently served as EVP of Worldwide Sales & Patient Services at Animas (NASDAQ:PUMP), which he joined in 2002. Under Jim’s leadership, operational efficiencies improved more than three-fold. Prior to Animas, Jim was Director of Managed Care for MiniMed, a leading insulin pump company acquired by Medtronic in 2000, and VP/GM of a wholly-owned subsidiary of MiniMed & VP of Patient Services. Prior to MiniMed, he was VP/GM at Alere where he was responsible for the designing, planning and executing on the creation of a Shared Services Center. Jim received his BS in Biology from University of Central Florida.

Steve Schaefer

Vice President of Manufacturing

Steve joined Aspire in April 2012 and brings over twenty years of leadership in manufacturing operations across the medical device, industrial, and biotech industries. Steve oversees the implementation and management of Aspire’s lean manufacturing facilities and processes, including supply chain management. Prior to Aspire, Steve held roles of increasing responsibility at Animas Corporation, a Johnson & Johnson company, from 2004 to 2012. Most recently, he served as Manufacturing Operations Manager, where he led a team of over 75 individuals in GMP compliant lean manufacturing operations. Previous experience includes manufacturing and operations leadership roles at Glenmar Manufacturing, Auntie Anne’s, and Princeton Separations. Steve is a certified Lean-Six Sigma Black Belt and brings extensive training in best practices including 5S, standard work, Kanban, Kaizen events, SMED, pFMEA, Poka-yoke, load balancing, Value Stream Mapping. Steve has a BS in Business from Phoenix University.

Sean O'Connor

Principal Engineer, Research & Development

Sean brings over 25 years in the medical device industry with a broad range of experience both developing and manufacturing sterile and non-sterile products that include diagnostics, surgical devices, drug delivery devices, resorbable implants, and long-term implants. Prior to Aspire, Sean was a Senior Principal Design Engineer at UniLife Corporation where he was instrumental in the development of core technologies for their wearable drug infusion devices. Prior to that, he served most recently as R&D Staff Engineer at Animas Corporation where he worked on the development of advanced technologies for future product platforms. Other past positions include Manufacturing Engineering Manager at Kensey Nash Corporation, Product Development Engineer at Surgical Laser Technologies (now PhotoMedex), and Process Engineer at DuPont Medical Products (now Siemens). Sean holds 3 US patents and has over 20 applications pending. Sean received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University.

03: Board of Directors

04: About Aspire

Aspire Bariatrics, Inc. is a privately-held company founded in 2005, based in the greater Philadelphia area. The initial product concept was developed as a collaboration between three physicians to provide an effective, low-risk method of weight loss for obese people. The three physicians, Dr. Sam Klein (Washington University in St. Louis), Dr. Moshe Shike (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York), and Dr. Steve Solomon (Memorial Sloan Kettering), combining expertise in obesity, nutrition, gastroenterology, medical device discovery, and PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) tubes, modified a PEG tube to make it suitable for weight loss purposes. PEG tubes, used for long-term feeding of patients that cannot take in food orally, have been used for 30 years and have an established record of safety.  Their first patient with the modified tube lost 100% of her excess weight in 2005, and maintained her weight-loss for over five years post-procedure. Katherine Crothall, Ph.D., Aspire’s President and CEO, joined the Company in November 2010.