In 2007, David Williams, then Professor at the University of Liverpool and Peter Zilla, Chris Barnard Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, started to discuss the possibility of developing technologies to treat the large number of children and young adults suffering from and dying of rheumatic heart disease in sub-Saharan Africa. This would have to be ground-breaking innovation since the only theoretical treatment is open-heart surgery, which at a practical level is essentially unavailable to these people. Williams and Zilla, along with their colleague Deon Bezuidenhout, formed a spin-out company, Strait Access Technologies (SAT), to realize this dream, patenting critical innovations that would allow low cost, minimally invasive approaches to heart valve therapy. After several years they obtained a combination of public and private investment and now employ 60 engineers on the projects. David Williams is Founding Director and Chairman of SAT.