About us

Strait Access Technologies (SAT) was founded in 2008 as a start-up company of the University of Cape Town. Its objective was the development of trans-catheter technologies that would provide access to heart valve therapies for the millions of patients suffering from Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) in Emerging Economies and the Developing World. By addressing the needs of these patients through simplicity superior spin-off products also emerged for the established procedures of the industrialised world.

Our Team

SAT was founded by a small team of clinical and biomedical professionals operating at the interface of the Industrialised and the Developing World. The founders have applied their extensive experience and expertise in cardiac surgery and medical devices to the goal of making life-saving implantable devices accessible to the millions of patients with rheumatic heart disease (RHD) who are excluded from currently available therapies.

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    CEO and Medical Director
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    Technical Director
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    COO
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    Chairman of the Board
Professor Zilla’s background as a heart surgeon and incumbent of the Christiaan Barnard Chair is reflected in two MDs, a PhD and a PD degree, as well as four surgical specialist qualifications in Europe and South Africa. For decades he has dedicated his passion towards the fight against Rheumatic Heart Disease - something clearly shown in his 31 international patents for implantable cardiovascular devices, including the design of SAT’s innovative, intuitive and inclusive transcatheter technologies.
Professor Peter Zilla
CEO and Medical Director
Professor Bezuidenhout holds a PhD in polymer science and is Head of Biomaterials Sciences at the Cardiovascular Research Unit of the University of Cape Town. He has more than 20 years of experience with the design, synthesis, modification and processing of polymeric and bioprosthetic materials for use in cardiovascular devices. He has been intimately involved in the management of SAT, overseeing the technical aspects from R&D to production, and holds 30 issued and pending patents on vascular grafts; stents; heart valves; biomimetic matrices; vein stents; and related medical devices, including the technologies underlying SAT products.
Deon Bezuidenhout
Technical Director
Heather Coombes holds a degree in Chemical Engineering and has been working in the South African Biomedical Engineering field for 11 years. She has extensive experience with both CE and FDA regulations and successfully brought several full product ranges through design, development and certification. Winner of a design excellence award, she has been running the company on a day-to-day basis.
Heather Coombes
COO
Professor David Williams is one of the world’s leading authorities on biomaterials and implantable medical devices, with 40 years experience in the academic, governmental, legal and industrial aspects of this business. He was head of the Department of Clinical Engineering and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool; Editor in Chief of the high-impact journal “Biomaterials”. He has consulted with most global medical device companies and was a member of Scientific Committees of the European Commission.
David Williams
Chairman of the Board