Cross-Sector Products Challenging but Doable—If Done Right

Sherrie Conroy

November 1, 2007

1 Min Read
Cross-Sector Products Challenging but Doable—If Done Right


Financial differences between pharmaceutical and device companies may be one of the biggest hurdles to successful cross-sector product development. This was the consensus of a panel of experts who spoke in October at BIOMEDevice in San Jose.

“The financial barrier is greater than people think,” said William Hunter, MD, a cofounder of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals (Vancouver). “Financial structures differ between medtech and biotech and even how they manage risk is different.”

In addition, the panel noted that pharmaceutical companies do not have the same perspective on markets that device companies do, and they face different timelines and risk profiles.

Successful relationships will require making sure that everyone is speaking the same language. “Never assume they understand your science,” said Peyton Anderson, CEO of Affinergy Inc. (Durham, NC). “Make sure they have a long-term perspective and can repeat what you are showing them.”

It is also critical to have a governing structure and team in place. Howard Rosen, vice president for commercial strategy at Gilead Sciences (Foster City, CA), noted that it is essential to have a process that allows both companies to work through tactical issues like setting up a sales force.

“Set out ground rules ahead of time, and deal only where the product interfaces. Don't tell them how to redesign their portion of the device,” added Thomas Gutshall, cofounder of Cepheid (Sunnyvale, CA).

The most promising areas of development will likely be in tissue-engineered products and in real-time genomic information. The innovations, said the panel, will come from small companies exploring disease states in new markets.

Copyright ©2007 Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry

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