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Reflecting on the Golden State

Originally Published MPMN September 2003

EDITOR'S PAGE

Reflecting on the Golden State


California is known as the Golden State for many reasons. It has golden beaches, golden poppy fields, and more than a few golden people. It shines with the glitter of Tinseltown and the mythical endless summer. Celebrities and former presidents call it home, and the rest of the nation seems to be fascinated with its every facet.

So when the editors of MPMN chose to focus on Southern California in this issue--a decision that was made in 2002--we knew the state would be in the news in some way. However, recent happenings have exceeded our expectations.

Next month, for the first time in the history of the state, its citizens will decide whether to recall their governor. Candidates seeking to replace him have been talking a lot about how bad the economy is. Maybe that's true.

But seemingly not for the medical device industry. Biotechnology-related businesses in the state have continued to expand during the recent economic downturn. And, in 2002, California led the nation in the number of firms in three areas of biotechnology: medical biotechnology, medical devices, and agricultural biotechnology. Close to a third of all biotech companies in the United States are located in the state.

Even better, these industries are projected to grow by more than 30% from 2000 to 2010. This is expected to add an estimated 219,000 new jobs. The medical instruments sector in the state currently employs 52,000. It is projected to grow by more than 10% to 58,000 jobs in 2010.

Obviously, medical device manufacturers see the appeal of doing business in California. More than 5500, or a little more than 20% of the country's medical device establishments are in the state. The reasons are clear. The area is blessed with a moderate climate and easy access to skilled labor. And it is strategically positioned on the Pacific Rim. 

Because Southern California contributes so much to the nation's medical device industry, MPMN's editors decided to devote a special section in this issue to the region. It has long been known for its innovations in medical technology, a tradition that continues. 

For example, San Diego-based Apex Medical Technologies has developed a new curing process for synthetic polyisoprene latex. The process uses organic peroxides that do not rely on any accelerators. Because accelerators are usually the cause of allergies in the end-user, this problem is eliminated.

Another company, Photobit Corp. (Pasadena, CA), is a supplier of CMOS image sensors. The company recently created a sensor that is embedded in a capsule meant to be swallowed by a patient to explore the gastrointestinal tract. It transmits color video signals as it travels through the stomach and small bowel.

New companies are also sprouting up in Southern California. They are developing technologies that are attracting serious money from venture capitalists. Orquis Medical Corp. (Lake Forest, CA) makes minimally invasive devices aimed at treating congestive heart failure. NuVasive Inc. (San Diego) offers an intraoperative nerve guidance system that enables a surgeon to navigate past nerves while advancing cannula to access the spine. The company's surgical navigator uses radiographic imaging to help a surgeon accurately guide cannulae and surgical instruments to targeted areas of the spine.

Clearly, Southern California has a lot to offer the medical device community. For the rest of the story, turn to page 40 for a feature article and supplier profiles.

Susan Wallace
, Managing Editor

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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