The OneMedPlace finance conference in San Francisco featured a panel discussion titled "AdvaMed 2012 CEO’s Unplugged: Global Outlook on Medical Technology" on January 10. The event, which was sponsored by AdvaMed, provided a forum from leaders of three big medtech companies to provide their thoughts on issues ranging from globalization to the importance of integrity in business.

David Lucchino, cofounder of Semprus BioSciences served as the moderator for the panel, which comprised:

  • Joe Almeida, president, CEO and director of Covidien.
  • Vincent Forlenza: CEO of Becton, Dickinson and Company.
  • Michael Mussallem, chairman and CEO of Edwards Lifesciences.

The Value of Entrepreneurship in Big Firms

When asked if the panelists considered themselves entrepreneurs, Mike Mussallem...

January 11th, 2012

There is a lively debate going on in the Medical Devices Group on LinkedIn, which just reached a milestone of 80, 000 members. The topic up for discussion is the device tax, and it's a doozy.

Here are a few choice comments that I thought were particularly effective arguments:

"If you must tax, tax profits rather than sales."

From Paul Stein...

January 11th, 2012

In an interview with BBC, Richard Horton, MD, editor of the Lancet medical journal lambasted the EU regulatory process for medical devices, citing the recent scuffle over the quality of silicone implants.

Dr. Richard Horton Lancet Medical Journal
Richard Horton says Europe's medical device regulation process is a smokescreen.

Horton's comments include a call out of the quality of hip replacements, heart valve replacements, in addition to silicone implants. " We have a smokescreen of device regulation, which is putting patients at...

January 11th, 2012

A new report published by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) urges healthcare facilities to take action on improving the reprocessing of reusable medical devices. The report [PDF] lists 10 immediate steps a facility can take to help solve the problem.

1 The basics: Cleaning and disinfection/sterilization of reusable devices are separate, equally important processes and must be performed before each patient use according to the device manufacturer’s written instructions for use (IFU).

2 The right tools: Have the IFU as well as all cleaning implements and equipment required by the IFU readily available in all the reprocessing areas.

3 Create a multidisciplinary committee to review the priority issues and set a plan for solving them throughout the organization. The following...

January 10th, 2012
The above bioprinting image was pulled from a video from the Wake Forest School of Medicine Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

A couple of months ago, futurist Michio Kaku gave a keynote talk on his view of where healthcare is headed. One of the most important trends in medicine, Kaku said, is the creation of artificial organs.

MD+DI editorial advisory member Andrew Dallas agrees on the...

January 9th, 2012

It may sound like obvious advice, but when doing business in China, make sure you have a solid plan in place and that you thoroughly understand the regulatory structure there. One strategy of doing business in the country is to simply acquire Chinese firms, which is an undertaking that is more difficult than many firms might expect, according to panelists at a session at at OneMedPlace in San Francisco.

When looking to buy a Chinese firm, be prepared for culture shock. There are practices in China that would make corporate counsel in the United States “shudder and die,” according to one panelist. Upon inspecting many Chinese manufacturing capabilities, you may be tempted to tear them down and start over, he said. “This is not going to be like acquiring somebody down the street,” he added.

Having said that, doing due diligence is not always easy in China. Sometimes, companies there keep two separate financial books and they will show you the...

January 9th, 2012

It is well understood that China is a country marked by dramatic change. One of the observations shared at the China Forum at OneMedPlace today in San Francisco is that things are changing so fast there that it is difficult for companies that do business there to keep up. Many of these changes are positive, however. The country has, for instance, made significant improvements over the last five years in terms of intellectual property protection. The government announced plans for ambitious healthcare reform last year. In terms of coverage for its citizens, the country has already made significant progress. Prior to 2006, practically none of its rural population had access to healthcare. Now, between 80–90% of these people have at least some kind of healthcare access.

The country is also making progress in a number of other areas....

January 9th, 2012

light bulbInspired by the content of a Malcom Gladwell talk, I wrote a post titled "It Can Be Better to Tinker than Invent" a couple of months ago. The truth of that assertion, of course, depends on the context. A LinkedIn thread devoted to that subject has attracted a steady stream of comments from medical device professionals, which I will summarize here.

Before I get to that, however, I'd like to point out a counterexample, mentioned by innovation consultant Jeremy Gutsche....

January 8th, 2012

this week in devicesAmong stories in this edition of "This Week in Devices," a damning e-mail was found related to the breast implant scandal and U-Wisc. ortho chair Zdeblick's relationship to Medtronic is questioned.

  • Breast Implant Scandal: Damning E-mail Is Uncovered (EMDT)
  • Synthes Goes After Stryker, Alleges Stolen Trade Secrets (Orthotec)
  • Inside the Dexcom Seven Plus Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (MED)
  • Microneedle Technology Promises Pain-free Insulin Injections (medtechinsider)
  • U-Wisc. ortho chair Zdeblick under fire for $25M relationship with Medtronic (Orthotec)

 —Brian Buntz

January 6th, 2012

The device industry these days is trending big. There has been an uptick in mergers and acquisitions, leading a growing share of people to work for large medtech firms—which generally don't have much appetite for the risk inherent in developing innovative new devices.

But the pendulum is likely to swing the other way eventually, as people not cut out for big device companies leave to pursue opportunities at startups. Of course, there are some serious obstacles standing in the way—such as the tight funding climate and the device tax. But there will always be at least some entrepreneurs up for the challenge.

In months to come, we plan on coverage specifically tailored to medtech entrepreneurs. For now, I chose to feature some advice on the topic that is a bit broader in scope.

Advice on Entrepreneurship 

On Twitter, I recently stumbled across a link to the following video from Jason Nazar—the entrepreneur behind...

January 4th, 2012