WHO INSPIRE and guide us


Board Chair

Mike brings over 35 years of broad and strategic healthcare leadership experience in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, clinical research, and payer economics.

He currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of Francis Medical, a start-up medical device company developing water vapor technology for treating prostate cancer.

Before Francis Medical, Mike was the chief marketing officer and senior vice president of International for NxThera, a start-up medical device company purchased by Boston Scientific. Prior to NxThera, he served as vice president and general manager of the Prostate Health business unit of American Medical Systems, which developed and commercialized medical device solutions to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer, and stone disease.

Mike received his MBA from the OPUS College of Business, University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Science in physics and chemistry from the University of South Dakota.


Board Member

Dave brings 20+ years as an angel and venture capital investor and is a founding member of Solas BioVentures, which focuses on investing in biotech and medtech companies. The cutting-edge and disruptive medical device and biotech companies Dave has led investments and served on the board of include: Francis Medical, Biostable S&E, Arrivo Bio Ventures, Nx Prenatal, Elira, Intershunt Technologies, Aegea Medical (acquired by Cooper Surgical), Veran Medical Technologies (acquired by Olympus Corporation of America), Addrenex (acquired by Sciele/Shionogi), Neuronex (acquired by Acorda), Velo Bio (acquired by AMAG Pharmaceuticals), Aerial Bio (acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals), NxThera (acquired by Boston Scientific), Knopp BioSciences (asset purchase by Biohaven Pharmaceutical), and Veranex. Dave is also an inventor and former C-suite operator of a medical device and pharmaceutical startup.

Board-certified in Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Hypertension, with special expertise in Critical Care, Dave served more than 20 years as a practicing physician and as a professor and vice chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He earned his medical degree from the Joan C. Edwards College of Medicine at Marshall University and an MBA at The Gary W. Rollins School of Business at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga with a concentration in healthcare. He received a BS in Biology from Morehead State University, where Dave is a member of the University’s Hall of Fame.



Driven by a need to offer doctors better stroke treatment options, Jay began working on the technology that became the basis for Vesalio in 2013. He has been a practicing endovascular neurosurgeon for over 15 years and has overseen the development of interventional stroke programs at three different hospitals. As a serial entrepreneur and inventor, Jay holds more than 40 patents for stroke treatment technology and has been published in over 40 peer-reviewed medical publications.

Jay graduated with honors from Auburn University and the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He completed a neurosurgery residency at the University of Florida and a vascular fellowship at Vanderbilt University.

Bobby Helmedag, MBA


Bobby is the Managing Director of Orlando Health Ventures. This hospital-based strategic venture fund invests in companies disrupting the healthcare industry while aligning with the mission of Orlando Health. Bobby is passionate about transforming how medicine is delivered by guiding early-stage companies through the nuances of the healthcare landscape to create maximum value. Bobby brings more than 10 years of experience in the corporate venture capital space for healthcare organizations, in addition to a finance and strategic planning background with Rex Health/Rex Health Ventures, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Citigroup and KPMG.

Currently, Bobby serves on the boards of Emergo Therapeutics and Bio 54. Previously, he served as a director or observer for Target PharmaSolutions (acquired by Norwest Equity Partners), Aerial Bio (acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals), Phynd Technologies (acquired by Symplr), Veran Medical Technologies (acquired by Olympus Corporation of America), Midnight Pharma (asset licensed) and Awarepoint Technologies (acquired by Centrak).

Bobby received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame and an International MBA from the Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina.

Steve Rybka


Steve brings more than 30 years of medical technology experience with a track record of building medical device startup revenue from inception to market to acquisition. When he joined Vesalio in 2017, Steve began establishing the business from product to company. As the first full-time staff member, he has led Vesalio through European regulatory approvals, establishment of quality system, U.S. IDE study approvals, seed and Class A financing, team development, and preparation for U.S. launch.

For the last 20 years, Steve has been driving small or early phase organizations in roles of increasing responsibility, focusing on commercialization strategy, KOL development, infrastructure scaling, change management, and executing corporate governance. Of note, Steve was a founding member of SeaSpine, Inc., where he served as the Executive VP. At SeaSpine, he helped build the business to an acquisition by Integra LifeSciences. At Integra LifeSciences, he led U.S. commercial activities during the transition. Steve has also served in leadership roles at Xenco Medical, Alphatec Manufacturing, Interpore Cross International, and Codman Neurosurgery Business of Johnson & Johnson Professional, Inc. He is also an active advisor with other startups, including Neuralace Medical.

Steve received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in economics and public affairs/administration from the University of Oklahoma.



Arthur has been practicing medicine for more than 20 years as an open and endovascular neurosurgeon. In 2019, he joined the Wellstar Health Care system in Atlanta, Georgia, and currently serves as the Neurosurgery/Neurovascular Medical Director for North Fulton Hospital in Roswell, Georgia. Dr. Grigorian earned his medical degree in 1987 from the State Medical Institute in Yerevan, Armenia, and then completed his neurosurgical residency in the University of Medicine and Dentistry (currently Rutgers Health) in Newark, New Jersey, followed by a neurovascular fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine Health System in New York City. Besides being published in more than 75 peer-reviewed medical publications, he has published three books that address stroke and cerebral vascular pathology. Arthur has extensive professional connections in Eastern Europe and is fluent in four languages.

Earl Slee, MBA, MSEE

Advisor & Board Observer

Earl brings over 35 years of medical device innovation and business development expertise. He holds 28 U.S. patents, with innovations that continue to define the standard of care in endovascular stroke treatment.

In 1998, he joined the neurovascular start-up, Micro Therapeutics, Inc., where he served as VP of Research and Development through several sequential acquisitions, the most recent by Medtronic. While at Medtronic, he also served as interim VP/General Manager of the Enabling Technology Business at Medtronic, a $1B annual revenue neurosurgical technologies portfolio. At Medtronic, Earl invented the first stent-retriever for acute ischemic stroke (Solitaire FR), was inducted as a Bakken Fellow, and earned Medtronic’s Patent of Distinction Award.

Most recently, Earl led the Technology, Strategy and Business Development group for Medtronic Brain Therapies – an organization focused on developing and commercializing endovascular therapies for hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke and other neurological conditions.

Earl holds a bachelor’s degree in physics with a minor in mechanical engineering from the University of California, San Diego. He also holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College and an MSEE from San Diego State University.