Meet the CEO - Stewart Bartlett

June 15, 2022

Meet the CEO - Stewart Bartlett

Tell us about your background

I studied engineering and started working as a semiconductor designer. The company I worked for developed products for the medical industry, including companies like Cochlear, where I first got exposed to the medical devices industry.

Medical devices… It is a challenging scenario

Our product at Ferronova is even more challenging, as it is a combination between a medical device and a drug

How did you end up in this sort of medical device sector, cancer-tracers?

After semiconductor design, I moved to a startup developing consumer and professional audio products, which led me to the ultrasound industry, where I co-founded Signostics in 2005, a smart ultrasound company. In 2015 Signostics became part of Echonous, a company majority owned by KKR, an American private equity group; I left in 2017 and  I joined Ferronova as the CEO, and have been here for the last four and a half years

So answering your question, I moved from “sound” that wasn’t medical to ultrasound that was, to co-founder and COO and then CEO of Ferronova.


Could you describe Ferronova/talk about its Vision and Mision in a few words

Our Mission is to transform cancer outcomes through precision surgery, imaging,  and therapy, using a patented nanoparticle platform. Our first product is used for lymphatic mapping and is designed to increase the accuracy of identifying the lymph nodes involved in the early spread of solid tumours. We are initially tackling complex cancers of the gastro-intestinal tract where patient outcomes can be poor.

The biggest learning curve as Ferronova’s CEO

When I first joined Ferronova, the technology was still being researched and refined. One learning from this process is early in the process the issues will always take longer to resolve than anticipated. Also, look outside for solutions. We engaged with the University of Sydney to assist and the end result has been a very productive collaboration between ourselves, UniSA, and the University of Sydney.  

The biggest learning for us was that investigator led clinical trials were challenging to manage as a company, so be prepared to take responsibility and put the effort in and be ready to sponsor clinical trials.

This is one area that can be a way to save money, but saving money is not always the best in the long term

You’ve been out there, showing and interacting with surgeons; what’s their general feedback?

Positive feedback: What we are doing is novel and different from other people trying to do similar things. We have the support from high profile surgeons across the globe of which see ‘tremendous potential to establish an effective strategy to tailor surgical and pathological assessment, through novel techniques such as sentinel lymph node biopsy.’

The most rewarding part?

Taking a product from university research and despite challenges, translating that technology into the clinic and clinical trials.

Also, the people we work and collaborate with, from the universities to people we’ve employed, and surgeons and clinicians, all the people we work with seem to have a common motivation to try and improve the outcomes of patients, which could be any of us one day. It’s been a very positive collaboration between Ferronova, the universities, partners and the clinicians. 

(99+) Meet the CEO - Stewart Barrett | LinkedIn

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