Medical device manufacturers are homing in on patients whose needs aren't being addressed.

April 1, 2013

3 Min Read
Medical Design Excellence Awards 2013: Finalist Products Target Niche Markets

The OptiFlow Junior is the first nasal cannula designed specifically for use on infants.

The new economics of the medtech business means that as the industry matures and products crowd the market, companies are increasingly looking for products that will be sure sales bets. They’re finding them by homing in on patients whose needs aren’t being addressed. 

“In general, I think the medical device industry is moving toward identifying problems that need to be solved instead of building hammers looking for a nail,” says Ed Chekan, director of medical education at Ethicon Endo-Surgery and a speaker at the upcoming MD&M East conference in Philadelphia.  

ResMed, which makes CPAP masks for adults, is targetting the pediatric market with its Pixi product.

Several MDEA finalist products were aimed at niche markets. The OptiFlow Junior neonatal and pediatric nasal cannula from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Ltd. (Auckland, New Zealand), for example, is the first nasal cannula designed specifically for infants. The OptiFlow, a finalist in the general hospital and therapeutic products category, features flexible, lightweight tubing in a small package that is ergonomically designed to enable easier interaction between parents and children.

The Pixi pediatric mask for continuous positive airway pressure or noninvasive ventilation therapy is designed for children who suffer from sleep disordered breathing. 

NeoChord hopes to address the treatment gap for patients suffering from mitral valve regurgitation with its DS1000. 

The Pixi, made by ResMed Ltd. (Sydney, Australia), isn’t just a scaled-down version of an adult mask; it specifically fits children’s faces, which have flatter noses and chubbier cheeks than those of adults. The Pixi, a finalist in the rehabilitation and assistive technologies category, even comes with a storybook. 

The NeoChord DS1000 a finalist in the surgical category, is a niche product used to perform only one procedure: minimally invasive replacement of damaged chordae in the hearts of patients with mitral valve regurgitation (MVR). The device, made by NeoChord (Eden Prairie, MN), addresses the needs of too-healthy or too-sick patients who might otherwise go untreated because other procedures to replace the chordae require the heart to be stopped. 

Jamie Hartford is MD+DI's managing editor. 

The 2013 MDEA winners will be announced at June 19 at MD&M East

Finalists Focus on Patients

Finalist Products Enhance Efficiency

Finalist Products Refine Technology

Finalist Products Put Patients' Needs First


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