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Changing the MenuA New Source for Business Information

Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry Magazine
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An MD&DI April 1999 Column

Of all the sessions at the 1999 HIMA annual meeting, the final panel discussion was perhaps the most vibrant—a free-wheeling exchange that touched on business topics ranging from venture capital and IPOs to valuation and exit strategies, supply-chain issues, mergers and acquisitions, co-marketing possibilities, and other strategic alliances. Several panelists raised the subject of innovative cooperative ventures between large and small companies: for example, a big company buying a stake in an exciting new technology, or a small company making a deal to secure market access. There was much talk about lions and lambs turning in together, until one panelist reminded the audience of Woody Allen's commentary—that the lion may lie down with the lamb, but the lamb won't get much sleep.

The vigilance required to remain a viable partner as opposed to a lamb chop can be used to characterize the myriad pressures that smaller device companies—often referred to in these pages as the heart and soul of the industry—face in today's market. From constricted distribution channels to a retreat of investors spooked by the less-than-stellar performance of recent public offerings, the barriers that inhibit small companies from creating value and growing over time seem to be increasing. Even those companies that manage to get a compelling new product onto the market—the most difficult task of all—often succumb to capacity problems in striving to meet subsequent production and distribution demands.

For public companies, scrutiny is unrelenting, and the slightest misstep can have dire consequences. "You have to keep all your promises," said panelist Casey McGlynn, chairman of the life sciences group at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. "Companies have no leeway. If anything at all goes wrong—the least burp—the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater. Today's market is a very difficult place if you have insignificant revenues or miss your numbers."

Although the current state of the industry thus places a premium on specialized business skills, many device executives are more adept at designing a product modification or clinical trial than they are at putting together a competitive business plan. Because access to essential business information is so critical in today's complex and unforgiving environment, Canon Communications, publisher of MD&DI, has announced the creation of a new publication devoted exclusively to the business needs of top-level medical technology executives.

With its first issue scheduled to appear on June 15, Medical Device Executive Portfolio will offer in-depth business analysis and essential market strategies to 15,000 readers with direct responsibility for corporate planning and finance, marketing, business development, regulatory and legal affairs, management information systems, advertising, distribution, and sales. Feature articles in these areas will be supplemented by business resource guides to professional services in a variety of fields, including advertising and communications, financial planning, import/export support, intellectual properties, management consultation, recruitment services, technology transfer, reimbursement strategies, and many others.

For information about Medical Device Executive Portfolio, contact its editor, Steve Halasey, at 310/445-4274 or As always, MD&DI will continue to provide pertinent business information and industry analysis within the context of its wider coverage of all aspects of device development. But this new offering should add some serious muscle to a few lambs.

Jon Katz

Copyright ©1999 Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry
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