Engineering & Urology Society: "Found in Translation"- Kurt Azarbarzin

April 26, 2019

Jaime Landman is the Co-Director along with Zhamshid Okhunov, also of UCI, at the Engineering and Urology Society meeting, taking place during the AUA 2019 meeting in Chicago on May 5.  One of our major highlights of this meeting will be the CEO Roundtable. The theme of the 2019 CEO roundtable is the successful translation of ideas into technology addressing unmet medical needs. Joining the roundtable are Kurt Azarbarzin,  Abel Ang, Arie Belldegrun and Ralph Clayman, a group of true visionaries who will share aspects of the journeys taken from ideas to technologies.  In this brief conversation, Jaime speaks with Kurt Azarbarzin about the challenges in bringing his ideas to life.  Kurt is currently working as the Chief Technology Officer for Conmed and in his prior life, was the Founder and CEO of SurgiQuest, the folks who make the AirSeal device.  


Kurt Azarbarzin, Chief Technology Officer at CONMED Corporation, Greenwich, Connecticut

Jaime Landman, MD Professor and Chairman, UCI Department of Urology, UC Irvine Medical Center

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Read the Full Video Transcript

Jaime Landman: Hi, this is Jaime Landman and this year I have the great privilege of being the Co-Director along with Zhamshid Okhunov, also at UCI, of the Endourology and Urology meeting, which will be taking place at the AUA meeting in Chicago.

This will be on May 5 and one of our big highlights will be our CEO round table. And today I have the privilege of briefly speaking with Kurt Azarbarzin. Kurt, who is currently working for Conmed as their Chief Technology officer and in his prior life, just before that, was the Founder and CEO or SurgiQuest, the folks who make the AirSeal device. Kurt, thank you so much for joining us.

Kurt Azarbarzin: Thank you, Jamie, pleasure.

Jaime Landman: Kurt, the CEO round table, the theme this year is about translation and successful translation, we'll have you, Abel Ang, Arie Belldegrun, Ralph Clayman, and a group of really esteemed people and we feel very fortunate to have you.

Can you give us a very brief summary of what you'll be talking about? Of course, as you know, the theme is the challenges that you may have had, be that fundraising, administrative, technological, in bringing an idea to life. In this case, I think you'll be talking about the AirSeal device, correct?

Kurt Azarbarzin: Correct. Actually, for me, I work in the industry for many years in the early 80s and being a big corporate executive starting a start-up company. The challenges associated with it, number of challenges obviously being financial backing, number one and then technology, development and the challenges associated with technology.

Finally, achieving positive clinical outcomes. A lot of companies focus on technology and not as much on the clinical benefits and our goal was to do both. I would say those are the key challenges that were faced. I hope to be able to give everybody an update and how we address those challenges.

Jaime Landman: Fantastic. With regards to the technical challenges, just to pick one for this brief snippet, what would you say, would be the biggest things that you overcame to make this device a reality?

Kurt Azarbarzin: Sure. To me, the biggest technical challenges was the idea of not having any type of limitation associated with access into the abdominal cavity and reducing the complication associated with insufflation into the abdominal cavity. I would say those are the two key challenges.

Jaime Landman: Wonderful. We look forward to seeing you on May 5th and hearing about successful translation and we'll see you there. Thanks, Kurt. 

Kurt Azarbarzin: Appreciate it.
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