Reimagine the Future of Organ Transport and Preservation
Bridge to Life was founded with the mission of improving organ transplants through licensing and developing new preservation solutions and technologies and providing the highest quality of service to organ procurement organizations and transplant centers.
We licensed the Belzer UW® trademark from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and began supplying quality organ preservation solutions. Bridge to Life established its European operation, Bridge to Life (Europe) Ltd. in 2012. Its Belzer UW® solutions are now sold, worldwide, in 34 countries. Through a strong focus on COLLABORATION with surgeons and transplant professionals, we continue to explore emerging science and preservation technologies.
Stevan Schweighardt is Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and a director of the US parent company, Bridge to Life Ltd. and has led the company from its inception in 2005. He is also Managing Director of Bridge to Life Europe Ltd. since its founding in April 2012. Prior to Bridge to Life, Mr. Schweighardt was Executive Vice President and a Partner with Cole & Associates, an international biotechnology and pharmaceutical business development consulting firm based in Northbrook, Illinois. The group developed a highly successful business model for biotech start-up companies to license their technology in the Pacific Rim with a particular focus on Japan. He served as Director of Acquisitions and Marketing for Central Diagnostic Laboratory. During this time, he developed a national acquisition business model. In his time at Searle Pharmaceuticals, he served in a number of sales and marketing management positions.
Mr. Schweighardt holds an MBA from Lake Forest School of Management and a BA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Mr. Schweighardt is a member of the Licensing Executives Society.
Richard L. Birch, Vice President of Business Development, has been a Director of Bridge to Life, Ltd. since inception, and has been directly involved in Operations since 2014. He focuses on the development of new products, including new organ preservation solutions and additives, cell preservation, cryopreservation, and organ perfusion devices.
Mr. Birch has lead technical publication teams in the health field for General Electric Medical Systems, for scientific instruments with Siemens Analytical Systems, and for a variety of manufacturing and computer science companies. He also was President and founder of Argosy Interactive, a producer of electronic media and technical publications.
Dr. Darren Freed, Chief Scientific Officer, is a cardiac surgeon clinician-scientist with an interest in heart and lung failure and novel techniques to treat these conditions. His primary clinical interests are in cardiothoracic transplantation and mechanical circulatory assistance as well as less invasive cardiac surgery and congenital cardiac surgery. His primary research interests are in ex vivo organ perfusion, heart transplantation, mechanical circulatory support and the biological basis of myocardial fibrosis.
Dr. Freed obtained his MD from the University of Alberta in 1998 and completed his cardiac surgical training at the University of Manitoba where he also obtained a PhD in Physiology in 2004. In 2007 he completed a Clinical Fellowship in Cardiothoracic Transplantation and Ventricular Assist Devices at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Dr. Freed is currently Professor, Division of Cardiac Surgery, Department of Surgery, with cross appointments in the Departments of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He has authored over 150 peer reviewed manuscripts, holds over 40 patents and has held numerous peer reviewed grants in support of his research program.
Thomas Ryan, Chief Operations Officer/Sr. VP of Finance, is responsible for Operations, Product Development, Engineering, Technical Service, and Finance.
Mr. Ryan has an extensive background in medical device development and operations including with Genii, Inc. where he served as General Manager and CFO, Integrated Biosystems/Stedim Biosystems as VP of Operations and Engineering, and Nellcor Puritan Bennett where he served as Director of Operations and Engineering. He holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Dr. Jayan Nagendran, Chief Medical Officer, is a cardiac surgeon clinician-scientist, and the Surgical Director of Lung Transplantation at the University of Alberta, and the Director of Research for the Division of Cardiac Surgery at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute. He received his doctorate in Experimental Medicine through the Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta in 2009. Dr. Nagendran completed his residency in cardiac surgery at the University of Alberta, and then received sub-specialty training in heart and lung transplantation at Stanford University from 2009-2011. Dr. Nagendran joined the Department of Surgery at the University of Alberta in 2011 and since 2017 is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery.
In February 2020, Dr. Nagendran and Tevosol won the NASA iTech Ignite the Night award at Tampa. Also, in October 2020, Dr. Nagendran and Tevosol were also chosen as Cycle I Forum Finalists at NASA iTech. He has authored over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and holds numerous peer reviewed grants in support of his research projects while also participating as a peer-reviewer to major transplant journals including the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, the American Journal of Transplantation, and Nature Communications.