Since being founded in 1992, the objective of Conceptus has been to provide innovative healthcare solutions for women. The driving force behind this vision is the company’s first CEO, Kathryn Tunstall.
A successful executive in the healthcare industry, Kathryn had grown increasingly frustrated by watching technology get developed and applied to male-dominated health issues, so when the opportunity to spearhead development of new technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of blocked fallopian tubes arose, she seized it.
As Kathryn led the company through the exploration of other applications of catheter technologies, it became clear that if it was possible to access the fallopian tubes to unblock them, it was also possible to block them. Dozens of technologies were patented and tested, including thermal energy in the tubes, but one technology – the one that would ultimately become the Essure micro-insert -- stood out above the rest.
Kathryn and her team were convinced that this technology, and its potential to eliminate the need for the cutting and general anaesthesia associated with tubal ligation, would have a huge impact on contraception options for women. They persevered through funding shortfalls and Kathryn’s personal battle with breast cancer to begin pre-clinical trials in 1997.
The Essure procedure was CE approved for use in Europe in 2001 and FDA approved in the United States in 2002. It has since become the standard of care for many healthcare organizations and professionals. Hundreds of thousands of women have benefitted from the Essure procedure worldwide and the potential impact is limitless.
Kathryn remains deeply involved in Conceptus in her current role as Chairwoman of the Board and her passion for improving women’s healthcare continues to grow.