3 Novel Predictions for Medtech in 2017

This is the time of year for crystal ball gazing. Here are three unique forecasts for the medtech industry in the year ahead.

Marie Thibault

Many medical device industry onlookers have made educated guesses about the sector’s outlook in 2017 and there seem to be some consensus opinions forming. Value-based care is here to stay. Medical therapy will become increasingly more personalized and artificial intelligence technology will improve by leaps and bounds.

Still, there are unique takes on what 2017 might bring for the industry. A few of these predictions can be found in GlobalData’s report, “Top 10 Trends in Medical Devices in 2017.” The report highlights several forecasts for the coming year, including an increased emphasis on value-based care, more robot-assisted surgeries, and increased use of data from Internet of Things devices by health insurers.

Hear a panel of hospital administrators and medtech execs discuss "Services, Risk-Sharing, and Value-Based Care" at MD&M West in Anaheim, CA, February 7-9.

GlobalData also made forecasts about various aspects of the industry, including the outlook for acquisitions, growth in new technologies anticipated in the cardiovascular sector, and the potential effect of the U.S. political shakeup on the medical market.

Read on for more details on these predictions. For more, access the GlobalData report here.

A Focus on Small and Medium-Sized Acquisitions

The report authors wrote, “Heading into 2017, although the new landscape favors large companies who can leverage economies of scale, GlobalData anticipate the calming of the high-profile M&A scene.” The report anticipates that acquisitions will keep taking place, but companies are likely to tack on smaller purchases that fit with their current product portfolios and add breadth and scale.

Major company executives, including those from Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson have pointed to a strategy of tuck-in acquisitions in recent months. Johnson & Johnson CFO Dominic Caruso said on the company’s October earnings call that “we keep looking for additional bolt-on acquisitions” in orthopedic and general surgery devices. According to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the earnings call, he added that while there are cardiovascular device therapies “that seem attractive . . . we’d also be very disciplined about doing a transaction where the valuation seem[s] pretty high, which is what they are today.”

New U.S. Cardiovascular Advancements

The GlobalData report calls out two specific cardiovascular innovations—coronary bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (BVSs) and peripheral drug-coated balloons (DCBs)—as key areas of development in 2017. Abbott’s Absorb GT1 BVS System received FDA approval in July 2016 and Boston Scientific has made investments in bioresorbable scaffold technology, including its internally developed Renuvia (in early human trials) and its investments in Amaranth Medical and Reva Medical. The market outside the United States is growing as more devices enter the market, GlobalData noted, calling this “a dynamic market to watch.”

While peripheral DCBs aren’t brand new to the U.S. market—both Medtronic and C.R. Bard have FDA-approved options—new indications are being added. According to the report, “GlobalData expect this market to flourish in 2017 as devices overcome reimbursement hurdles.”

Trump Administration May Boost U.S. Medical Markets

Obviously, the result of the U.S. presidential election is expected to have a major impact on events in 2017 and beyond. In addition, the President-elect’s nominees to head HHS, FDA, and CMS are anticipated to play a big role in health policy. GlobalData predicts “that Donald Trump’s unexpected presidential win will be a boon for the global healthcare industry.”

That meshes with what sister publication Qmed found in an informal survey of readers. Nearly half of the medical device engineering and design audience said they thought Trump’s presidency would be a benefit for the medical device industry. Those who felt that way cited reasons like President-elect Trump’s potential plans to “Replace the unaffordable ACA,” “Get rid of the device tax,” “Reduce time to market regulations on medical devices,” and “Bring jobs back to USA from China, India, and Mexico.”

Marie Thibault is the managing editor at MD+DI. Reach her at marie.thibault@ubm.com and on Twitter @MedTechMarie.

[Image courtesy of BYKST/FREEDIGITALPHOTOS.NET]