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Tri-Cities Research District

BUSINESS PLANNING & TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT


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Brachytherapy prostate seeds made by IsoRay Medical deliver high energy in a short time period.

High-tech ventures in the (Richland, WA) know how to squeeze every bit of value from the resources around them. One of the most strategic resources at the research district is the location itself. The 1600-acre research park, tucked into the sunny southeastern corner of Washington State, won a designation and funding last year as one of the state's innovation partnership zones. With nearly 800 acres available for development, its 80-plus companies employ more than 7000 people, housed in 1 million sq ft of building space.

Tenants can access 40 organizations that offer everything from intellectual property to business incubation space. One tenant, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has provided tenants and hundreds more tech firms with technology for licensing, free technology and business assistance, and access to some of the world's most sophisticated analytical instrumentation. Another tenant, Washington State University Tri-Cities, offers opportunities for research collaboration, interns, access to a bioproducts facility, and business counseling.

Four medical device firms call the research district home. Advanced Imaging Technologies developed the award-winning Aria breast imaging system for enhanced imaging of dense breast tissue. IsoRay Medical, a public company, makes Proxcelan brachytherapy seeds, using cesium-131, a medical isotope that delivers high energy over a short period of time. A nonprofit organization, Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN), designs, manufactures, and donates its patented orthopedic implant system to hospitals in 49 developing countries. And XL Sci-Tech is pion­eering MicroSeeds, a timed bioabsorbable microsphere-nanosphere for cancer treatment.

Copyright ©2008 MX

Memphis Bioworks Foundation

BUSINESS PLANNING & TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

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The nonprofit is leading an effort to establish Memphis as a globally recognized center for the development and commercialization of bioscience technologies. To accomplish this, the foundation has focused its efforts on developing world-class facilities, promoting venture capital, and creating a collaborative bio-community.

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Rendering of the University of Tennessee–Baptist Research Park, now under construction.

Memphis Bioworks has 34,600 sq ft of incubator space, 68% of which has been built out, while the remaining 32% is under construction. There are currently 10 companies taking advantage of the facilities, including InMotion Musculoskeletal Institute, a not-for-profit orthopedic research lab seeking to translate innovative concepts into treatments to reduce disabilities while improving mobility for patients.

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When completed, the University of Tennessee–Baptist Research Park will be at the center of the redevelopment of the Memphis Medical Center complex, and will include housing, retail, and green space.

Memphis Bioworks is also leading the development of the University of Tennessee-Baptist Research Park, where a regional biocontainment lab and a college of pharmacy are under construction. A 40,000-sq-ft vivarium that complies with FDA good laboratory practices and the first of five research and office buildings that will contain 200,000 sq ft of space are currently in design. When completed, the research park will have nearly 1.3 million sq ft and will be at the center of the redevelopment of the Memphis Medical Center complex, which will also include housing, retail, and abundant green space area.

Innova Memphis, an early seed venture fund created by , is focused on the support of entrepreneurial efforts to advance the region's biosciences field. The venture has currently funded three projects, including a medical device start-up. To date, Innova has reviewed more than 100 proposals for initial capital and incubator space for research and development.

Strategic partnerships are essential to building a thriving bioscience center. To advance the region's bioscience goals, Memphis Bioworks works closely to integrate local universities with many leading biomedical and medical corporations, including Medtronic, Smith & Nephew, Wright Medical, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Medical Education & Research Institute, contract machine shops, and multiple orthopedics-related clinical care institutions.

Copyright ©2008 MX

Achievements in Medtech Marketing

ADVERTISING, DISTRIBUTION, & SALES

The International Awards of Excellence (In-Awe) program, put on by the Healthcare Communication & Marketing Association Inc. (HCMA; Mt. Royal, NJ), is designed to recognize outstanding strategically driven creative work in healthcare marketing. The awards program was originally started in 1985 by the Medical Marketing Association, which at the beginning of 2008 merged with the Healthcare Marketing and Communications Council and the Midwest Healthcare Marketing Association to form a single national entity serving a membership of more than 2000 medical marketers.

"In-Awe awards submissions set a new record in 2008," says Mark S. Perlotto, executive vice president and managing director at Adair Greene McCann (Atlanta) and HCMA recognition committee chair. "When all the entries were in, 148 companies submitted a total of 938 entries across 65 categories into this year's competition—a 15% increase over 2007."


At the first annual meeting of the Healthcare Communication and Marketing Association (HCMA), Monica Noce, Kanarek, executive vice president for creative Donohoe Purohit Miller (Chicago), accepts the agency's silver award in the 2008 International Awards of Excellence (In-Awe) program from Mark S. Perlotto, executive vice president and managing director at Adair Greene McCann (Atlanta) and HCMA recognition committee chair.

Donohoe won the award for its creation of the branding logo for the HERmark breast cancer assay by Monogram Biosciences Inc. (South San Francisco, CA). The first assay to make use of the company's VeraTag technology platform, the HERmark assay can identify metastatic breast cancer patients who are most likely to respond to specific treatments. Given many options, HERmark assays help facilitate an oncologist's treatment choice. This is where the idea behind the dots and the highlighted 'selection' was born.

The In-Awe competition is one of the largest competitions in the world of healthcare marketing, with more than 900 entries submitted each year. The entries represent more than 160 companies operating in a wide range of healthcare disciplines, including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biotech, and healthcare services. Entries are judged by a panel of industry experts on both strategy and results, not just the visual creative appeal of the work.

"This year's panel of 39 judges represented all corners of the healthcare marketing world," says Perlotto. "Representatives from agencies and manufacturers, as well as marketing and media consultants, brought their expertise to select the best work in medical marketing from the past year. From all the submissions, those judges selected 147 winners they deemed worthy of either a gold, silver, or bronze In-Awe award for 2008."

This year's awards were presented to winners during a ceremony at HCMA's inaugural annual conference, held in Dallas this past June. "The 65 In-Awe categories for 2008 span the spectrum of healthcare marketing to include advertising, medical education, print, digital, and online initiatives, as well as live activities such as conventions and trade shows," says Perlotto. "What makes In-Awe unique among industry award competitions is its focus on marketing strategy and results as well as creative execution as parts of the evaluation criteria. The winners of an In-Awe award are much more than just pretty pictures."

In this article, MX highlights the challenges, strategies, and execution behind some of this year's winning medical device campaigns.

Journey Knee campaign
Archer/Malmo Inc.
for Smith & Nephew


At the Philadelphia Flower Show launch of the In-Awe winning Journey Knee campaign by Archer/Malmo Inc. for Smith & Nephew, yoga and fitness experts demonstrated simple excercises that knee pain sufferers could do to minimize pain and help increase or maintain mobility.

Marketing agency Archer/Malmo Inc. (Memphis) was recognized in this year's In-Awe competition for its work on the Journey Knee consumer public relations campaign for Smith & Nephew (London).

Smith & Nephew's Journey Knee was uniquely designed for a younger target audience—baby boomers. The consumer public relations campaign needed to address not only the physical pain boomers feel from knee ailments, but also the emotional and mental pain. They needed to know the Journey Knee was specifically and uniquely designed to get younger patients back to the activities they love.

The campaign aimed to create an effective communication stream that maximized the conversion of inquiries to leads—those who obtained contact information for a specific Journey surgeon.

In launching the Journey Knee campaign, Smith & Nephew broke new ground by becoming the first medical device company to sponsor the Philadelphia Flower Show. The event sponsorship gave the com­pany the opportunity for one-on-one engagement with target consumers—women aged 45 to 65 living with osteoarthritis. This boosted local lead conversion from 40 to 64%. The campaign used media relations surrounding the flower show and in additional key markets to penetrate 58 markets and garner 2.5 million impressions.

The campaign won a gold In-Awe award in the category of public relations, consumer.

VAC GranuFoam Silver Dressing
HC&B Healthcare Communications
for Kinetic Concepts Inc.


Members of the team from HC&B Healthcare Communications who created the In-Awe winning campaign for Kinetic Concepts Inc. (from left): Harrison Saunders, creative director; Amy Smith, account director; and Dave Walker, creative director.

One year after Kinetic Concepts Inc. (KCI; San Antonio, TX) launched a new dressing technology—the VAC GranuFoam Silver dressing—for its market-leading vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) therapy system for advanced wound care, the company engaged HC&B Healthcare Communications to develop a direct-mail campaign that would build product awareness and encourage sales.

The creative challenge for HC&B was to combine existing knowledge into a powerful message that, like the product itself, delivered more than the sum of its parts. Working with HC&B, KCI had already established uncommonly high awareness of VAC therapy among its target audiences. In addition, the use of ionic silver therapy was not new in wound care. Although clinicians were familiar with both VAC and silver therapies, however, they didn't know that the two could be combined in the same system for optimal outcomes. HC&B's strategy was to show that combining VAC therapy with ionic silver therapy renders both therapies more effective.

To demonstrate the unique mechanism by which ionic silver is infused into the pores of the GranuFoam dressing, HC&B created an interactive direct-mail piece with movable parts that delivered a simple and straightforward message: KCI has advanced silver therapy by combining it with an already powerful technology that is known and trusted—VAC therapy.

The results speak for themselves. After the launch of the print ad campaign, sales of VAC GranuFoam Silver jumped 48% from their baseline. Today, VAC GranuFoam Silver makes up 15% of all GranuFoam sales in the acute-care market.

The campaign won a bronze In-Awe award in the category of direct-mail print campaigns.

All About U
Seidler Bernstein
for Boston Scientific


Members of the Seidler Bernstein team who created the In-Awe winning campaign for Boston Scientific Urology (from left): Rob Kinslow, vice president of strategic communications; Kathie Coe Renner, vice president and executive creative director; Alla Litovchenko, associate creative director for art; and Tod Brubaker, associate creative director for copy.

Boston Scientific is a leader in the market for less-invasive medical devices. As part of a strategy to strengthen its relationship with the urology community, the company joined forces with Seidler Bernstein to create a highly targeted multidisciplinary campaign.

The challenge was to convince urologists that Boston Scientific shared their interests and goals, and was committed to helping them be successful. Urologists can be an es­pecially skeptical audience. The work is not glamorous, their caseloads are enormous, and many feel under­appreciated.

Seidler Bernstein's strategy was to emphasize the value that Boston Scientific brings to the urology market beyond its innovative, high-quality products. When the creative team noticed that a stent used for kidney stone removal looked exactly like a heart, the "We (heart) Urologists" ad was born.

But to convince this wary audience, the team members at Seidler Bernstein knew they had to do more than create a vibrant, attention-grabbing ad. They had to back it up with a comprehensive program of services and support to help urologists succeed in the areas they care about most: their patients, practices, and futures. The program, called "All About U," included an ad, mailer, sales rep training and trade show materials, and a logo. It launched at the American Urological Association trade show, where it was well received by urologists. In fact, there was a stronger than expected demand for "We (heart) Urologist" buttons and other branded giveaways.

The campaign won a silver In-Awe award in the category of convention-trade show-exhibit traffic builders.

Copyright ©2008 MX

Achievements in Medtech Marketing

ADVERTISING, DISTRIBUTION, & SALES

The International Awards of Excellence (In-Awe) program, put on by the Healthcare Communication and Marketing Association Inc. (HCMA; Mt. Royal, NJ), is designed to recognize outstanding strategically driven creative work in healthcare marketing. The awards program was originally started in 1985 by the Medical Marketing Association, which at the beginning of 2008 merged with the Healthcare Marketing and Communications Council and the Midwest Healthcare Marketing Association to form a single national entity serving a membership of more than 2000 medical marketers.

"In-Awe awards submissions set a new record in 2008," says Mark S. Perlotto, executive vice president and managing director at Adair Greene McCann (Atlanta) and HCMA recognition committee chair. "When all the entries were in, 148 companies submitted a total of 938 entries across 65 categories into this year's competition—a 15% increase over 2007."

The In-Awe competition is one of the largest competitions in the world of healthcare marketing, with more than 900 entries submitted each year. The entries represent more than 160 companies operating in a wide range of healthcare disciplines, including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biotech, and healthcare services. Entries are judged by a panel of industry experts on both strategy and results, not just the visual creative appeal of the work.

"This year's panel of 39 judges represented all corners of the healthcare marketing world," says Perlotto. "Representatives from agencies and manufacturers, as well as marketing and media consultants, brought their expertise to select the best work in medical marketing from the past year. From all the submissions, those judges selected 147 winners they deemed worthy of either a gold, silver, or bronze In-Awe award for 2008."

This year's awards were presented to winners during a ceremony at HCMA's inaugural annual conference, held in Dallas this past June. "The 65 In-Awe categories for 2008 span the spectrum of healthcare marketing to include advertising, medical education, print, digital, and online initiatives, as well as live activities such as conventions and trade shows," says Perlotto. "What makes In-Awe unique among industry award competitions is its focus on marketing strategy and results as well as creative execution as parts of the evaluation criteria. The winners of an In-Awe award are much more than just pretty pictures."

In this article, MX highlights the challenges, strategies, and execution behind some of this year's winning medical device campaigns.


At the first annual meeting of the Healthcare Communication and Marketing Association Inc. (HCMA), Monica Noce Kanarek, executive vice president for creative at Donohoe Purohit Miller (Chicago), accepts the agency's silver award in the 2008 International Awards of Excellence (In-Awe) program from Mark S. Perlotto, executive vice president and managing director at Adair Greene McCann (Atlanta) and HCMA recognition committee chair.

Donohoe won the award for its creation of the branding logo for the HERmark breast cancer assay by Monogram Biosciences Inc. (South San Francisco, CA). The first assay to make use of the company's VeraTag technology platform, the HERmark assay can identify metastatic breast cancer patients who are most likely to respond to specific treatments. Given many options, HERmark assays help facilitate an oncologist's treatment choice. This is where the idea behind the dots and the highlighted 'selection' was born.

Journey Knee campaign
Archer/Malmo Inc.
for Smith & Nephew


At the Philadelphia Flower Show launch of the In-Awe winning Journey Knee campaign by Archer/Malmo Inc. for Smith & Nephew, yoga and fitness experts demonstrated simple exercises that knee pain sufferers could do to minimize pain and help increase or maintain mobility.


Flower show attendees crowded the Smith & Nephew booth for nine days to relax in the massage chair, receive knee-friendly gardening tips, sign up for giveaways, or just find out more about the Journey Knee.

Marketing agency Archer/Malmo Inc. (Memphis) was recognized in this year's In-Awe competition for its work on the Journey Knee consumer public relations campaign for Smith & Nephew (London).

Smith & Nephew's Journey Knee was uniquely designed for a younger target audience—baby boomers. The consumer public relations campaign needed to address not only the physical pain boomers feel from knee ailments, but also the emotional and mental pain. They needed to know the Journey Knee was specifically and uniquely designed to get younger patients back to the activities they love.

The campaign aimed to create an effective communication stream that maximized the conversion of inquiries to leads—those who obtained contact information for a specific Journey surgeon.

In launching the Journey Knee campaign, Smith & Nephew broke new ground by becoming the first medical device company to sponsor the Philadelphia Flower Show. The event sponsorship gave the company the opportunity for one-on-one engagement with target consumers—women aged 45 to 65 living with osteoarthritis. This boosted local lead conversion from 40 to 64%. The campaign used media relations surrounding the flower show and in additional key markets to penetrate 58 markets and garner 2.5 million impressions.

The campaign won a gold In-Awe award in the category of public relations, consumer.

VAC GranuFoam Silver Dressing
HC&B Healthcare Communications
for Kinetic Concepts Inc.


Members of the team from HC&B Healthcare Communications who created the In-Awe winning campaign for Kinetic Concepts Inc. (from left): Harrison Saunders, creative director; Amy Smith, account director; and Dave Walker, creative director.


HC&B Healthcare Communications developed an interactive direct-mail promotion for KCI that increased sales of the VAC GranuFoam Silver dressing by 48%.

One year after Kinetic Concepts Inc. (KCI; San Antonio, TX) launched a new dressing technology—the VAC GranuFoam Silver dressing--for its market-leading vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) therapy system for advanced wound care, the company engaged HC&B Healthcare Communications to develop a direct-mail campaign that would build product awareness and encourage sales.

The creative challenge for HC&B was to combine existing knowledge into a powerful message that, like the product itself, delivered more than the sum of its parts. Working with HC&B, KCI had already established uncommonly high awareness of VAC therapy among its target audiences. In addition, the use of ionic silver therapy was not new in wound care. Although clinicians were familiar with both VAC and silver therapies, however, they didn't know that the two could be combined in the same system for optimal outcomes. HC&B's strategy was to show that combining VAC therapy with ionic silver therapy renders both therapies more effective.

To demonstrate the unique mechanism by which ionic silver is infused into the pores of the GranuFoam dressing, HC&B created an interactive direct-mail piece with movable parts that delivered a simple and straightforward message: KCI has advanced silver therapy by combining it with an already powerful technology that is known and trusted—VAC therapy.

The results speak for themselves. After the launch of the print ad campaign, sales of VAC GranuFoam Silver jumped 48% from their baseline. Today, VAC GranuFoam Silver makes up 15% of all GranuFoam sales in the acute-care market.

The campaign won a bronze In-Awe award in the category of direct-mail print campaigns.

All About U
Seidler Bernstein
for Boston Scientific


Members of the Seidler Bernstein team who created the In-Awe winning campaign for Boston Scientific Urology (from left): Rob Kinslow, vice president of strategic communications; Kathie Coe Renner, vice president and executive creative director; Alla Litovchenko, associate creative director for art; and Tod Brubaker, associate creative director for copy.

Boston Scientific is a leader in the market for less-invasive medical devices. As part of a strategy to strengthen its relationship with the urology community, the company joined forces with Seidler Bernstein to create a highly targeted multidisciplinary campaign.

The challenge was to convince urologists that Boston Scientific shared their interests and goals, and was committed to helping them be successful. Urologists can be an especially skeptical audience. The work is not glamorous, their caseloads are enormous, and many feel underappreciated.

Seidler Bernstein's strategy was to emphasize the value that Boston Scientific brings to the urology market beyond its innovative, high-quality products. When the creative team noticed that a stent used for kidney stone removal looked exactly like a heart, the "We (heart) Urologists" ad was born.

But to convince this wary audience, the team members at Seidler Bernstein knew they had to do more than create a vibrant, attention-grabbing ad. They had to back it up with a comprehensive program of services and support to help urologists succeed in the areas they care about most: their patients, practices, and futures.

The program, called "All About U," included an ad, mailer, sales rep training and trade show materials, and a logo. It launched at the American Urological Association trade show, where it was well received by urologists. In fact, there was a stronger than expected demand for "We (heart) Urologist" buttons and other branded giveaways.

The campaign won a silver In-Awe award in the category of convention—trade show—exhibit traffic builders.

Solutions Algorithm for Wound Care Management
iMed Studios
for ConvaTec


Sample screens from the CD-ROM based interactive Solutions algorithm for wound-care management, designed by iMed Studios for ConvaTec.

First launched ten years ago by ConvaTec (Skillman, NJ), a world-leading manufacturer of wound therapeutics and ostomy-care products, Solutions algorithms for wound care were developed to assist healthcare professionals make correct wound-treatment decisions. Solutions algorithms have been content-validated by national and international wound care experts.1,2

In 2007, Solutions algorithms were accepted by the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) as the only set of comprehensive, content-validated algorithms for pressure ulcers and lower-extremity ulcers in the United States. The newest version, which received accolades in the 2008 In-Awe competition, is a CD-ROM-based interactive module that supplements in-depth printed resources.

"While the original Solutions algorithms pieces were extremely successful in print form, we wanted to provide a streamlined and more user-friendly approach to accessing all the information in one easy-to-use interactive tool," said Stephen Forden, ConvaTec vice president and U.S. general manager. "As a leading company in modern wound care, we will continue to develop cutting-edge resources like this tool and provide trusted, proven, evidence-based support for the busy clinician."

iMed Studios (New York City), a Publicis Healthcare Communications Group company that provides innovative digital solutions for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, developed the interactive Solutions algorithm resource. While any digital communications company would have a blend of the requisite geeks and marketers on hand to strategize, guide, and build successful digital solutions, it was iMed's deep roots in health sciences and technology that set itapart. The company's core competencies include modern solutions for healthcare professional promotion and education, consumer and patient education, on-location and events, and sales force support and internal communications.

"We were thrilled to be able to develop a creative and innovative digital program that will truly aid in the achievement of better healthcare," said Carol Jacobson, president of iMed Studios. "It is wonderful to have this accomplishment recognized by the international healthcare community."

The Solutions tool by iMed for ConvaTec won a silver 2008 In-Awe award in the category of medical education, interactive, innovative programs.


References

  1. L Bolton et al., "Wound Healing Outcomes Using Standardized Care in Clinical Practice," Journal of Wound Ostomy Continenece Nursing 31, no. 3 (2004): 65–71.
  2. J Beitz and L van Rijswijk, "Using Wound-Care Algorithms: A Content Validation Study," Journal of Wound Ostomy Continenece Nursing26 (1999): 238–249.

access2wellness Campaign
Lehman Millet
for Johnson & Johnson


Poster for Johnson & Johnson's access2wellness campaign, developed by Lehman Millet.


Home page for the access2wellness campaign Web site, created by Lehman Millet for Johnson & Johnsont.

How do you speak to the universe but make the communication feel very personal?

Lehman Millet (Boston) was faced with that conundrum when helping Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. (J&J; New Brunswick, NJ) launch access2wellness, a program designed to connect patients with information about a broad range of assistance programs, such as free or discounted prescriptions. The primary audience: under- and uninsured patients. Secondary audience: physicians, hospitals, and J&J employees.

Research revealed that in general, the target population responded negatively to photographs of 'people like me.' Invariably, the person represented in the photo seemed different (wrong race, wrong marital situation, or wrong manner of dress—'I'd never wear a necklace like that'). Group photographs simply muddled the connection further. While the target population is large and diverse, it was critical to find a way to connect with potential users on an individual basis, and lead each to see that access2wellness could be a potential resource.

The Lehman Millet team developed a creative, easy-to-identify-with series of illustrations with diversity and character. The distance that an illustration created allowed the target audience to engage with the idea rather than an individual character in the campaign.

The illustration approach proved powerful in testing and has borne out in the market as evidenced by strong responses from patients, physicians, and J&J employees—and rapidly expanding use of the program.

Lehman Millet's campaign for the J&J access2wellness program won a silver award in the 2008 In-Awe competition, in the integrated campaign, public service category.

OrthoPAT Advertisement
Lehman Millet
for Haemonetics


In-Awe winning ad for the OrthoPAT system by Haemonetics, created by Lehman Millet.

If you're going to change someone's behavior, you have to start by getting their attention.

Today many orthopedic surgeons rely on traditional blood transfusions (blood bank or self-donated) to replace blood lost during surgery. Blood-banked blood can be easily contaminated, and predonated blood must be donated several weeks in advance of surgery. This can result in the patient developing anemia and, if blood is not used, it ends up being discarded. Haemonetics (Braintree, MA) has a better answer that requires a real change of behavior: blood replacement with higher hematocrit (red blood cell) by using patient's own blood during surgery.

Lehman Millet was tasked with raising awareness of the OrthoPAT system's unique product benefits. The product washes the blood during surgery and delivers back a blood hematocrit level of 70%, compared to the low level of 50% from predonated blood or blood-banked blood, and the even lower level (30%) from unwashed blood salvage.

The Lehman Millet creative team used the famously-recognized circa 1970s lava lamp as an icon to capture attention and interest, and serve as a tie-in to the hematocrit level--70s--delivered by the OrthoPAT system.

In the 2008 In-Awe competition, Lehman Millet's campaign for Haemonetics won a bronze award in the category of journal advertising, full or fractional page.

Manage IV Pain Campaign
Lehman Millet
for Anesiva


Home page of the manageIVpain.com Web site, created by Lehman Millet for Anesiva.


To prime the market for Anesiva's product to reduce the pain and trauma that children associate with intravenous drug delivery, Lehman Millet created an integrated campaign to reach nurses who treat pediatric patients.

There's no doubt about it, kids see the world differently.

And they feel differently too. Which is why Anesiva (South San Francisco, CA) is launching Zingo—an innovative drug-device combination that delivers a rapid, local anesthetic for pediatric IV sticks and blood draws.

Protecting kids from IV pain sounds like a slam-dunk, but research revealed many doctors are apathetic. The real opportunity lies with nurses--those faced with administering the IV—to raise their hands as champions for change. Impassioned nurses spoke to the trauma of IV sticks and blood draws with pediatric patients. Some even noted that the children looked at them as though they were 'monsters.'

At Lehman Millet, those insights became the catalyst for Manage IV Pain, an integrated campaign to prime the market for Zingo. The agency's creative solution was based on reimagining the notion of what kids fear to immediately drive home the magnitude of IV pain's impact on children.

The 'monsters' have been used in direct mail, trade show materials, sales aids, and advertising to drive nurses to manageIVpain.com, where they find techniques and tips to help manage IV pain through distraction techniques, language, and positioning. There, they are encouraged to join RN Voice, a coalition of nurses who will become champions of change toward ending pediatric IV pain.

The campaign launched with great results, generating extraordinary booth traffic at nursing trade shows, excellent Web traffic, and healthy registration for RN Voice.

In the 2008 In-Awe competition, Lehman Millet's campaign for Anesiva's combination drug-device product won two silver awards in the categories of journal advertising, spread; and integrated campaign, professional/trade.

Toga System Brochure
ODA
for Satiety Inc.


Branding brochure for the Toga system and procedure by Satiety Inc., created by ODA.

Medical device company Satiety Inc. (Palo Alto, CA) is the developer of the Toga system, a set of devices used in transoral gastroplasty—a noninvasive, transoral procedure for the treatment of obesity. To introduce its novel solution—which is currently being evaluated in a multicenter U.S. study—Satiety needed a memorable brand that could garner attention in an increasingly crowded treatment field.

Satiety's vice president of marketing, Rachel Croft, came to Bay Area branding agency ODA (San Francisco) to develop Toga's brand from the ground up. One of the brand's initial marketing pieces was a brochure explaining the procedure to Toga's primary target audience, bariatric surgeons.

"We wanted to establish Toga in the minds of physicians and communicate its benefits in a visually stimulating manner," said Tom Haan, ODA partner and lead strategist.

ODA's resulting creative solution centered on a close-up, sepia-toned image of an open mouth. This bold visual was coupled with the headline, "Obesity treatment that's easier for your patients to swallow." This poignant lead served as a nod to Toga's being a transoral procedure that is less invasive than gastric bypass surgery.

"We loved the fresh, eye-catching approach of this piece, said Croft. "We felt it was a great match for Toga's unique offering."

ODA's branding brochure for Toga won a gold award in the 2008 In-Awe competition, in the category of sales rep materials, sales/product brochure/detail aid.

Tegaderm CHG In-Service Training Tool
StoneArch Creative
for 3M Medical


Home page of the in-service training tool for 3M Healthcare's Tegaderm CHG in-service training tool by StoneArch Creative.


Online page illustrating application technique for 3M Healthcare's Tegaderm CHG, from the in-service training tool by StoneArch Creative.

Tegaderm by 3M Medical (St. Paul, MN) is the market leader in IV securement dressings. Growing concern over healthcare-associated infections led to development of Tegaderm CHG, which imbeds chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG)—a powerful antimicrobial—within the transparent film dressing.

The challenge facing StoneArch Creative (Minneapolis): provide 3M sales reps with a training tool that demonstrated the product's ease-of-use, intelligent design, and innovative integration of the CHG antimicrobial. The tool would need to work for onsite in-service training sessions and as a leave-behind for hospital clinicians unable to attend the training.

StoneArch Creative's strategy was to develop a user-friendly, interactive CD-ROM in-service training tool. The tool provides an overview of product features and benefits, and detailed, full-color, original illustrations and photos that show correct application and removal techniques at three different IV insertion sites. The drawings were leveraged for printed application posters, and StoneArch Creative also executed an exciting and successful product launch event for 3M Medical.

Always on the lookout for products that improve patient care and reduce the risk of infection, clinicians love using the in-service tool, and learning the 'hows' and 'whys' behind the innovation of a product they are very familiar with and use multiple times per day.

The Tegaderm CHG in-service training tool by StoneArch Creative for 3M Medical was recognized with a silver award in the 2008 In-Awe competition, in the category of medical education, interactive, innovative programs.

Copyright ©2008 MX

Heart-Assist Device Market Heats Up

MARKET ANALYSIS

Recent regulatory approvals and favorable reimbursement rulings are expected to provide a boost to the market for heart-assist devices. Such devices offer the promise of extending and enhancing the lives of 22 million people worldwide who suffer from heart failure, some of whom might eventually be candidates for a human heart transplant or an implanted heart-assist device.

'

As the number of clinically viable human heart transplants continues to fall far short of demand, technological advances continue to show promise as permanent replacements for defective hearts. As a result, industry consensus is that the heart-assist device market could reach between $8 billion and $10 billion worldwide within the next few years. In fact, more than a dozen medtech manufacturers are actively developing products for what could be the next hot-growth sector for the worldwide cardiovascular market (see Table I).

Company
Location
Stock Symbol
URL
Abiomed Inc.
Danvers, MA
Nasdaq: ABMD
www.abiomed.com
Cardiac Assist Inc.
Pittsburgh,PA
Private
www.cardiacassist.com
HeartWare Ltd.
Sydney, Australia
ASX: HTW
www.heartware.com
Jarvik Heart Inc.
New York, NY
Private
www.jarvikheart.com
Levitronix
Zuric, Switzerland
Private
www.levitronix.com
MicroMed Cardiovascular    Inc.
Woodlands, TX
OTCBB: MMCV
www.micromedtech.com
Myotech LLC
West Henrietta, NY
OTC: BIPH
www.myotech.com
Sunshine Heart Co. Pty    Ltd.
St. Leonards, Australia
ASX: SHC
www.sunshineheart.com
SynCardia Systems Inc.
Tucson, AZ
Private
www.syncardia.com
Terumo Heart Inc.a
Ann Arbor, MI
TSE: 4543
www.terumoheart.com
Thoratec Corp.
Pleasanton, CA
Nasdaq: THOR
www.thoratec.com
Ventracor Ltd.
Chatswood, Australia
ASX: VCR
www.ventracor.com
World Heart Inc.
Oakland, CA
Nasdaq: WHRT
www.worldheart.com
aWholly owned subsidiary of Terumo Corp. (Tokyo)
Table I. Leading medtech manufacturers of heart-assist devices. Source: individual company documents and Web sites.

Three heart-assist device manufacturers have recently received good news on the regulatory and reimbursement fronts. In June, Abiomed Inc. (Danvers, MA) received FDA approval for its Impella 2.5 micro heart pump. In May, the company gained reimbursement coverage from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS; Baltimore) for its AbioCor self-contained artificial heart. At the same time, SynCardia Systems Inc. (Tucson, AZ) received CMS reimbursement for its CardioWest, a temporary total artificial heart. Meanwhile, Thoratec Corp. (Pleasanton, CA) received FDA approval for its HeartMate II device in late April.

AbioCor. The AbioCor, which is FDA approved under a humanitarian device exemption (HDE), is intended for severe chronic heart failure patients whose normal heart function cannot be restored, are not eligible for transplant, and, according to Abiomed, "have no other treatment options." Although AbioCor is considered to be an engineering marvel, it has a very limited market due to its relatively short life. Next-generation AbioCor II, which is in development, is 30% smaller than AbioCor I and is anticipated to have a life expectancy approaching five years.

Impella 2.5. Although little attention was given to the AbioCor announcement, FDA approval of Abiomed's Impella 2.5 device generated widespread interest from industry analysts. The device is billed by the company as "the world's smallest heart pump." Michael R. Minogue, Abiomed's chairman, CEO, and president, said, "The device seamlessly provides immediate, minimally invasive circulatory support for critical patients."

The Impella 2.5 is inserted into the left ventricle via a standard catheterization procedure through the femoral artery, into the ascending aorta, across the valve, and into the left ventricle. It pumps blood at a rate of 2.5 liters per minute. By contrast, intraaortic balloon pumps—the current standard of care—pump at a rate of 2.0 liters per minute.

Gregory Simpson, a medical device analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. Inc. (St. Louis), said Impella is "one of the most exciting products to hit the cardiology market in quite some time" and called the device "a game changer in the cardiac cath lab." Currently approved for up to six hours of use and primarily intended for high-risk angioplasties, Impella can also be used to stabilize a patient who has just experienced a heart attack, or for presurgery periods.

While other analysts recognized the potential of the new Abiomed micro pump, some expressed caution concerning the adoption of the new technology. They noted that the company will need compelling data to build the kind of mind-set among physicians that would result in a paradigm shift from the intraaortic pump to the Impella.

CardioWest. SynCardia cited CMS reimbursement of its Cardio­West temporary total artificial heart as the first of three benchmarks that it expects to achieve this year. With such benchmarks under its belt, the company expects use of the device to quadruple within the next 24 months.

The company's second benchmark will be its FDA application for approval of its Companion Driver system, which it will file later this year. Approval will enable stable Cardio­West recipients to recover at home while they await the availability of a heart transplant, a practice that has been in place in Europe since the device received the CE mark in July 2006. In the United States, Cardio­West is currently limited to hospital use.

The company's third stated benchmark would be worldwide availability of the Companion Driver system and ramped up production capabilities to meet the anticipated need.

Originally designed as a permanent replacement heart, the Cardio­West artificial heart is currently approved as a bridge-to-transplant for patients who are days, if not hours, from death due to end-stage biventricular failure. SynCardia reports that there have been more than 715 implants of the CardioWest device, accounting for more than 125 patient years of life on the artificial heart and a success rate of 79%. The company calls such results "the highest bridge-to-transplant rate for any heart device in the world."

HeartMate II. Thoratec describes the HeartMate II as a mechanical circulatory support device intended for a broad range of advanced-stage heart failure patients. An axial flow device, it can pump up to 10 liters of blood per minute, the full output of a healthy heart, and is designed to provide long-term cardiac support. The device is implanted alongside a patient's native heart and takes over the pumping ability of the weakened heart's left ventricle.

HeartMate II has only one moving part: a spinning rotor that runs continuously on bearings made of synthetic rubies lubricated by the steady flow of blood. The company reports the product features more-efficient lithium ion batteries, is easier to implant, and has a much longer life than earlier ventricular-assist devices (VADs).

HeartMate II is a 3.2-in.-long cylinder-shaped device that looks like an elongated D-cell battery. It weighs 12 oz and is intended as a replacement for the company's HeartMate XVE, which is 2 in. wide, 4 in. in diameter, and weighs 2.6 lb. The smaller size of HeartMate II is expected to extend its use to a broader range of smaller patients, including many women.

Suraj Kalia, medical technology analyst with SMH Capital (Houston), says HeartMate II is "a significant step-up over the HeartMate XVE, whose poor performance has stymied growth in the end-stage heart failure market." Kalia says Thoratec has a first-mover advantage and is ahead of its competitors not only in the bridge-to-transplant market, but also for the destination therapy market, where the company is positioned to potentially hit a home run.

Copyright ©2008 MX

Location, Location—Innovation

BUSINESS PLANNING & TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

When one thinks of important medical device innovators, large multinational companies such as Abbott, Boston Scientific, GE Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, and Siemens all come to mind. But identifying the regional sources of the innovations that drive these companies' growth can be a complicated matter.

Many of the medtech industry's largest companies play significant roles in developing and supporting centers of innovation, both within the United States and abroad. But universities, incubators, government agencies, and start-up companies also play measurable roles in defining the innovation capacity of a particular region. And then there is the matter of innovation quality—whether some locations are superior in terms of generating influential new technologies.

Patent activity is one of the best formal measures of innovation. The Patent Board (Chicago), a leading patent advisory firm, has studied recent medtech patents in order to identify the key domestic centers of medical device innovation as well as the degree of global participation in generating U.S. patents.

Although the market for medical devices is growing internationally, domestic invention continues to dominate global market share. Of the top 25 global public medical device companies ranked by product revenue, 16 are U.S. based and account for 72% of global profits.1

While domestic medical device patenting is slowing down overall, the United States remains the largest innovator of medical device technologies, and U.S. companies both large and small are still aggressively seeking to develop and protect intellectual property. Non-American participation in U.S. device innovation is also strong; specifically, the proportion of foreign inventors named on U.S. medical device patents has been consistent over the past six years.

This article presents an analysis based primarily on selected patent data from 2007 U.S.-issued inventions in the medical device industry as defined by the Patent Board's industry mapping and corporate unification tools. Inventor addresses given in patents served as a proxy for innovation location. Rather than relying on a count of unique patents as the basis for determining regional innovation productivity, the analysis approached the issue from the perspective of inventor contributions—that is, total numbers of inventors within a given city or core-based statistical area (CBSA) whose names appear among all patents issued during a given time period.

Domestic Hot Spots: Patent Quantity

Perhaps not surprisingly, Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN (including neighboring Wisconsin), turns out to be the top CBSA for patent authorship in 2007 within the medical device category. Both Medtronic Inc. (Minneapolis), the most productive medical device company for 2007 in terms of patent ac­tivity, and Boston Scientific Corp. (Natick, MA) have a large regional presence in Minnesota. (Boston Scientific has branches in Maple Grove, Plymouth, and St. Paul.) St. Jude Medical and 3M (both in St. Paul, MN) also have a significant presence in this region. This combination of corporate medical device powerhouses seats this area of the country comfortably in the number one spot for both issued patents and published applications, indicating that there is a significant brain trust in the region (see Table I).

Rank
Core-Based Statistical Area
Inventors (no.)
1
Minneapolis–St.Paul–Bloomington, MN; WI
1554
2
Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana, CA
1029
3
San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont, CA
896
4
San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, CA
787
5
Boston–Cambridge–Quincy, MA; NH
620
6
New York–Northern New Jersey–Long Island, NY; NJ–PA
583
7
San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos, CA
379
8
Chicago–Naperville–Joliet, IL; IN–WI
286
9
Miami–Ft. Lauderdale–Miami Beach, FL
249
10
Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue, WA
238
Table I. The core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) with the greatest inventor participation in U.S. medical device patenting in 2007, ranked by inventor count. Source: The Patent Board.

As Table I shows, four of the top 10 CBSAs are in California. Leading patent creators with operations in these areas include St. Jude Medical, Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, IL), and Cymer Inc. (San Diego).

The San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos area stands out in that 48% of its U.S.-issued patents for 2007 belong to smaller patenting organizations rather than what the Patent Board calls unified companies (those with a minimum of 45 U.S.-issued patents over the preceding 60 months, typically well established large corporations). This may indicate that the area is a potential hotbed of newly emerging companies within the medical device industry. Nationally, only 31% of medical device patents belong to smaller patenting companies. This number has remained constant at around 30% from 2002 through 2007.

Those four California CBSAs are in the top 10 also for patent applications, another measure of inventor productivity. Therefore, it appears that they will continue to be centers for medical device innovation in the near future. It also explains, in part, why California is the U.S. state most productive of new medical device technology in terms of patents issued for 2007. Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, and Florida round out the top five for that metric.

So far, this article has primarily mentioned corporations as the top patenting organizations within the CBSAs discussed. That is because, while noncorporate entities such as universities, government agencies, and nonprofit research institutes do hold significant patents, the numbers are far below those of their corporate counterparts. Universities account for approximately 3% of U.S. medical device patents issued in 2007, while government and nonprofit research institutes represent approximately 0.5%.

It is interesting that the top CBSAs are home to major medical device–patenting universities and research institutes. The University of Minnesota, the 10-campus University of California system (headquartered in Oakland, CA), Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA), and the Alfred E. Mann Foundation (Santa Clarita, CA), as well as Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) and Boston University, are prominent institutions located within the top-ranked CBSAs. Along with corporate industry players, the presence of these organizations and the spin-offs they help to create undoubtedly contribute to the ferment of innovation within these top-ranked regions.

Domestic Hot Spots: Patent Quality

The Patent Board tracks and analyzes the innovation quality, movement, and industry impact of patent assets, using a number of indicators. Two that speak to the overall assessment of patent quality are current impact and science linkage.

Current Impact. The current impact indicator measures the broader significance of a company's patent portfolio by examining the impact its patents have across the industry in a given year (see Table II). The current impact score indicates the extent to which a company's patents serve as a foundation for industry patents and technologies developed subsequently.

Rank
Core-Based Statistical Area
Current Impact Score
1
Boulder, CO
3.665
2
Santa Cruz–Watsonville, CA
2.694
3
Columbus, OH
2.337
4
San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, CA
2.299
5
San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont, CA
2.265
6
Denver–Aurora, CO
2.211
7
Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN; WI
12.07
8
Austin–Round Rock, TX
2.061
9
Pittsburgh, PA
2.029
10
Kansas City, MO; KS
1.977
Table II. The top 10 CBSAs by current impact. This indicator is a measure of the strength of an organization's—and collectively a region's—influence on worldwide technology development through its patents being a foundation for other patents and technologies. Source: The Patent Board.

By this measure, Boulder, CO, replaces Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN, as the top-ranked CBSA, with Boulder's recent medical device patents having the most significant impact on 2007-issued patents. Minneapolis came in seventh place as measured by documented influence of patent portfolios held by companies in each region.

The major industry player in the Boulder area is Covidien Ltd., which is formally headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. Covidien accounts for the majority of the region's high-quality patents. Its most fertile technology (in the sense of inspiring other patented work) pertains to electrosurgical apparatus and devices that seal blood vessels, among other applications. Covidien is also a major presence in fifth-ranked San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont, CA, as well.

The Santa Cruz–Watsonville, CA, area is ranked second overall for patent quality. Major corporate contributors to this ranking include Abbott Laboratories and St. Jude Medical.

Abbott also contributes to the high ranking of the Austin–Round Rock, TX, region, which is in the top 10 for two patent quality indicators. The Austin-centered CBSA ranks eighth overall for patent quality (current impact) and fifth for science linkage (explained in the next section). Abbott Spine (Austin, TX), formerly Spinal Concepts Inc., was acquired by Abbott in 2003 and has several of the region's highest-quality patents.

The Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN, CBSA region, the patent quantity leader, ranks seventh for patent quality in the analysis for 2007. Two of Boston Scientific's subsidiaries—Cardiac Pacemakers (St. Paul, MN) and SciMed Life Systems (Maple Grove, MN)–and Medtronic all have high-quality patents that boost this region's rating. A younger company, Acorn Cardiovascular (St. Paul, MN), with technologies for cardiac support devices, is also generating high-quality patents in this region.

Science Linkage. Science linkage is an indicator of the degree to which the patents generated in a particular region represent technological innovation building off of objective, peer-reviewed scientific research. A higher score indicates that the company's technology is more seminal or closer to the cutting-edge than those of its competitors. Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton, PA (with neighboring New Jersey), ranks as the top CBSA under this quality metric. J&J's subsidiary Cordis Endovascular (Warren, NJ), which develops products to treat various circulatory diseases, accounts for many of the inventions from this region most closely aligned with new science.

Newly emerging medical device companies such as Glucolight Corp. (Bethlehem, PA) also have strong technologies rooted in scientific research. Glucolight's optical coherence tomography provides a more sophisticated means of continuous and noninvasive blood glucose monitoring that may be crucial for successfully managing intensive-care patients.

The second-strongest CBSA for science linkage is the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD area. Here, government agencies appear among the top patenting organizations, as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Army are among the most prolific patent generators in this region. They possess patents reflecting a strong basis in scientific research. Among academic institutions in the region, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) contributes most prominently to the area's high science linkage rating, being the second most prolific patenting organization in the CBSA.

U.S. Patents, Global Authorship

Regional patent productivity can be examined from the perspective of major cities as well as CBSAs. Using inventor addresses as a proxy for corporate locale results in the top city listed on U.S. medical device patents being in fact not a U.S. city at all. Although the number of patent authors living in U.S. cities exceeds that of foreign-resident inventors, Tokyo is actually the inventor city that is most prolific in terms of authors named on 2007 U.S. medical device patents. San Jose and San Diego follow in second and third place. Tokyo would place eighth among CBSAs if it were included in that ranking.

The majority of 2007 U.S.-issued patents naming Tokyo-resident inventors belong to Japanese-based companies such as Topcon Corp., Olympus Corp., Hoya Corp., and Hitachi Ltd., as might be expected. However, the company that has the greatest number of Tokyo medical device inventors is U.S.-based General Electric (GE; Fairfield, CT).

Does Tokyo's top-city standing mean that U.S. medical device patents are increasingly being authored by foreign inventors and organizations? This does not appear to be the case. If it is so, then the phenomenon is taking place slowly. In 2007, the percentage of U.S.-issued medical device patents naming exclusively foreign inventors was 31.5%. While that represents a significant portion of the industry's patents, the number has risen only 1% since 2002. Incidentally, 3.9% of U.S. medical device patents issued in 2007 list U.S. and foreign inventors working collaboratively.

After Japan, Germany and France are contributing most significantly to the work resulting in U.S. medical device patents (see Table III). Their inventor contributions to U.S. patents issued from 2002 through 2007—that is, the portion of inventors named on the patents who resided in those countries—were 9%, 6%, and 2%, respectively.

Rank
Nation
Inventors (no.)
1
Japan
1712
2
Germany
1133
3
France
335
4
United Kingdom
315
5
Israel
298
6
Canada
287
7
Sweden
197
8
The Netherlands
189
9
Australia
185
10
Switzerland
178
Table III. The top 10 countries with the greatest inventor participation in U.S. medical device patent authorship, as determined from utility patents issued in 2007. Source: The Patent Board.

The situation is a little different at the top of the list of countries whose inventors published patent applications during the period of this study. Israel replaces France as the third-highest-contributing country. Israel has become a global life sciences and medical device industry hotbed. The country is home to approximately 900 established life sciences companies, and at least 50 or 60 new ones are formed each year. According to Invest in Israel, more than one-third of Israeli life sciences start-ups already generate revenues.2

Conclusion

Most innovation activity in the medical device industry continues to take place within the United States. As evidenced by domestic patent productivity, that technological creativity is distributed throughout the nation.

Centers of innovation tend to be anchored by strong universities and research institutions, which are not only patenting in their own right but also collaborating with companies. The Association of University Technology Managers has noted that the number of new spin-offs from academic institutions rose from 494 in 2001 to 628 in 2005, a 27% increase. The 10-year increase through that date was 181%. Many of these innovating enterprises operate in the biomedical field.3, 4

Other nonprofit research institutions have also been active. For instance, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (Cleveland), through its technology commercialization arm CCF Innovations, has spun off approximately two dozen companies since 2001.

One spin-off is Zin Medical (Cleveland) established in 2006 and jointly owned by Zin Technologies Inc. and the Cleveland Clinic. It has developed a wireless biometric monitoring device for use in aerospace, military, and civilian terrestrial settings. Zin Medical exemplifies the industry advancement potential of regional collaborative efforts, which will surely be a factor in driving future research and patenting activities in the nation's innovation centers.


References

  1. "Business News: Medtech's Top-25 Firms Post Strong Revenue Gains in 2007," MX 8, no. 3 (2008): 12-14.
  2. "Invest in Israel, Life Sciencs [sic] in Israel" [home page online] (Jerusalem: Invest in Israel, 2008 [accessed 13 August 2008]): available from Internet: www.investinisrael.gov.il/NR/exeres/F6640B8E-4938-4113-B6F0-259CA785B0EA.htm.
  3. TJ Sheeran, "New Companies Cash In on Medical Innovations" [online] (Cleveland: Associated Press, 2007 [accessed 13 August 2008]): available from Internet: ora.ra.cwru.edu/techtransfer/news/news4.pdf.
  4. Association of University Technology Managers, AUTM U.S. Licensing Survey, FY 2005: A Survey Summary of Technology Licensing (and Related) Performance for U.S. Academic and Nonprofit Institutions and Technology Investment Firms, ed. D Bostrom and R Tieckelmann (Northbrook, IL: Association of University Technology Managers, 2007 [accessed 14 August 2008]): available from Internet: www.autm.net/events/File/US_LS_05Final(1).pdf.

Paris Kucharski is an advisory services associate, and Scott Oldach is president, at the Patent Board (Chicago).

Copyright ©2008 MX

Alliance Looks to Promote Device Interoperability

NEWS TRENDS

A major challenge in the coming years is providing technology that enables people to manage their own healthcare. That means medical devices must communicate with each other. A consortium of healthcare and technology firms is working to make that happen.

The goal of the Continua Health Alliance is to “establish an ecosystem of interoperable personal health systems that empower people and organizations to better manage health and wellness,” says a statement from the consortium.

It hopes to get a boost from a new member, Cambridge Consultants. The firm is letting the consortium use its Vena platform. It is a low-cost, single-chip communication system for health devices. It can provide the group with both wired and wireless connectivity.

Vena provides three standards required by the consortium. One is the Bluetooth Health Device Profile. The second is the USB Personal Health Device Standard. The standards govern wireless and wired communication parameters, respectively. The third is the IEEE 11073 standard for the compatible exchange of information between health devices including thermometers, weighing scales, and blood glucose meters.

“The Continua Health Alliance is a leap forward for the industry,” says Paul Williamson, head of wireless medical at Cambridge Consultants. “By ensuring interoperability, we can give individuals, patients and healthcare professionals access to health and fitness information through devices and services that have been designed to a common standard.”

Copyright ©2008 Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry

Editorial Advisory Board

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

Zimmer Acquires Abbott Spine


This month, the spine market saw one of the world's leading medtech companies abandon its position in the hotly contested sector, where it was, at best, a bit player. Deciding that it did not want to invest any additional resources in attempting to grow its small share of the market, Abbott Spine, a division of Abbott (Abbott Park, IL) agreed to be acquired by Zimmer Holdings Inc. (Warsaw, IN). The $360 million all-cash deal was announced by Zimmer earlier this month, with no official comment from Abbott.

Dvorak

Commenting on the transaction, Zimmer president and CEO David Dvorak said, “This acquisition is another significant step in executing our strategies to position Zimmer for sustained growth in the future. We are excited to be adding a number of innovative products that round out the Zimmer Spine portfolio and help us build toward critical mass in this important business segment. In addition to bringing great products and a promising pipeline, the Abbott Spine acquisition will add to our research and development capabilities in the spinal category and will strengthen our sales coverage.”

A division of Abbott's medical products group, Abbott Spine is based in Austin, TX, and also has operations in Bordeaux, France. Zimmer said it expects to maintain both facilities, and does not see any significant impact on Abbott Spine's 300 employees worldwide. “We have great respect for the talent and passion of the Abbott Spine organization,” said Dvorak. “Combining our businesses will enable us to provide better product choice and improved customer service to spine and neurosurgeons as they seek the best solutions for their patients.” Zimmer's spine business is headquartered in Minneapolis.

Most industry analysts were not surprised by Abbott's move, noting that the company felt it was swimming against the tide in attempting to grow the business, and had been shopping for a buyer for some time.

Matson
Matson: Broader range.

Michael Matson, senior medical technology analyst with Wachovia Capital Markets LLC (New York City), says the deal will expand Zimmer's spine product and distribution capabilities, while doubling its share of the $8.7 billion global spine market from 2 to 4%--and making it the fifth-largest company in the sector. According to Wachovia, the spine market is dominated by Medtronic Inc. (Minneapolis), with a 47% share; followed by Synthes GmbH (Solothurn, Switzerland) and DePuy Spine (Raynham, MA), a division of Johnson & Johnson, both at 10%; and Stryker Corp. (Kalamazoo, MI) at 6%. Other competitors include Nuvasive Inc. (San Diego) at 3%, Globus Medical Inc. (Audubon, PA) with 2%, and Biomet Inc. (Warsaw, IN) with 1%.

“With the acquisition, Zimmer picks up a broader range of spinal products, including additional minimally invasive surgery instruments and cervical and thoracic implants,” says Matson. “Abbott Spine's most differentiated product is likely its Wallis interspinous process spacer, which has been sold in Europe for around 20 years and is now undergoing an IDE trial in the United States. The Wallis, combined with Zimmer's existing Dynesys dynamic stabilization system, gives the company a differentiated motion preservation line-up in a sea of artificial discs.”

Founded in 1996, Abbott Spine made a major commitment to the sector with its $170 million purchase of Spinal Concepts in 2003, followed by the acquisition of Spine Next for $60 million a year later. Yet, most analysts cautioned that Abbott's exit from the spine market should not be interpreted as any indication of its intentions regarding the company's medical device business. In fact, many noted that Abbott's Xience device, a late entry in the drug-eluting coronary stent market that received FDA approval in July, has quickly caught the attention of interventional cardiologists and is expected to capture more than a third of the market by year's end. Abbott is also developing a completely absorbable drug-eluting coronary stent, which is currently in clinical trials and could be on the market by 2012.

With 2007 sales of just $109 million, the Abbott Spine business represented less than 1% of Abbott's overall revenues of $25.9 billion, which come from its pharmaceutical, diagnostics, nutritionals, and device sectors. Analysts generally saw the company's move as pulling the plug on spine in order to put more resources to work in the company's core segments that are producing greater growth—including its expanding vascular device business.

For Zimmer, industry analysts generally saw the Abbott acquisition as a logical extension of the company's business at a reasonable price. Apart from some potential sales-force integration issues, Zimmer is not expected to have any significant difficulty in absorbing and integrating the company into its operations. The acquisition will increase Zimmer's spine revenues to around $300 million, which represents about 8% of the company's 2007 revenues of $3.9 billion.

Zimmer entered the spine sector in 2003 with its $3.2 billion acquisition of Zurich-based Centerpulse, which was at the time Europe's largest orthopedics manufacturer. The deal followed a long and contentious struggle with rival suitor Smith & Nephew plc (London). Founded in 1927, Zimmer manufactures reconstructive orthopedic, spinal, and trauma devices; dental implants; and related surgical products. The company has 8500 employees and operations in more than 25 countries around the world.

The acquisition of Abbott Spine has been approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close before the end of the year, subject to the usual regulatory procedures. Stockholder approval is not required.

© 2008 Canon Communications LLC

Return to MX: Issues Update.

ConvaTec’s Sale Ends an Era

NEWS TRENDS

One of the last vestiges of a 1980s buying spree has been sold.

In that decade, a number of large pharmaceutical companies bought medical device firms in an effort to diversify. One of the only drug companies to stick with the strategy, however, was Johnson & Johnson. Most of the drug giants sold their device units within a decade, as they narrowed focus to blockbuster drugs.

Another drug company that had stuck it out was Bristol-Myers Squibb, which held on to its ConvaTec wound-care business. But in August, it sold ConvaTec to two private equity firms, Nordic Capital and Avista Capital Partners. The selling price was $4.1 billion.

The drug giant hoped to use those proceeds to buy smaller drug maker Imclone Systems Inc. It placed a bid of $4.5 billion for the 83% of the company it does not already own. Why does it want Imclone instead of Convatec? Because, like other drug companies before it, Bristol-Myers Squibb wants to focus on developing blockbuster drugs.

Copyright ©2008 Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry