Maria E. Bennett
Maria (Walker) Bennett has been the President and CEO of SPR Therapeutics since she founded the company in 2010. Using her years of experience in the medtech industry, Maria identified an unmet market need for a non-opioid, non-surgical pain treatment to improve the lives of millions of pain sufferers. The idea for this new treatment originated during her biomedical engineering graduate studies at Case Western Reserve University, where she developed a peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) system to treat pain and also led R&D at an early stage neurostim company. During this experience, Maria discovered her passion for working with patients and physicians and witnessing life-changing results. She also learned the challenges of growing and sustaining an entrepreneurial company. From there, Maria was recruited to lead a team at Boston Scientific to conduct a large clinical trial, which demonstrated the safety and efficacy of an innovative angioplasty balloon and achieved FDA approval. While it was a great experience to work for a large medtech company, when a former colleague presented the opportunity to join a new start-up company, she couldn’t resist and returned to Cleveland to serve as Vice President of Clinical at NDI Medical. At NDI, she played a vital role in the development of a neurostim system addressing urinary incontinence, which was acquired by Medtronic in 2008. After the sale of NDI, Maria revisited her idea of a novel pain relief therapy, validated there was an unmet market need, and founded SPR to commercialize its SPRINT® PNS System. She is the inventor of SPRINT, having multiple patents issued. Maria earned her BS degree in engineering management from Miami University (Ohio) and earned her MS degree in biomedical engineering from Case. She was awarded the East Central Region Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst & Young in 2021.