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NCI-Funded Device Start-Ups Offer Game-Changing Technologies

At the NCI SBIR 2012 Investor Forum, a select group of SBIR grant-funded emerging cancer device companies presented promising next-generation technologies poised to dramatically impact survival from a variety of cancers, including deadly lung, liver, and esophageal malignancies.

Medical Device Innovation

GE Buys Instrumentarium: A Big Deal May Boost Digital Mammography

The $2 billion acquisition by GE Medical Systems of Helsinki, Finland-based Instrumentarium Corp., the largest medical device deal of 2002, has obvious implications for the patient monitoring market in which both companies have major stakes. The deal also is likely to have a significant future impact on driving the growth of the digital mammography market.

Medical Device Innovation

Second-Generation Proteins

A steadily growing group of companies is using a variety of technologies to help shorten the path from platform to product company by creating improved versions of known and, in some instances, already marketed therapeutic proteins. Companies like Neose, Genencor, Applied Molecular Evolution and Maxygen, hope that by starting out with molecules already known to possess therapeutic properties, they can reduce the risks normally associated with drug discovery and development. The technologies employed by these second-generation protein players vary widely: from new methods, like directed evolution, to refinements of older ones such as glycosylation modification and PEGylation. And their business models run the gamut from a pure human therapeutic focus to the use of protein engineering in agriculture, industrial chemicals, as well as health care. But the fact remains for each of these companies that, whatever the improved odds for success afforded by second-generation protein work, they're still in a very risky business where more than half of their programs will fail. And, at least when it comes to the small universe of already marketed drugs, there will be plenty of competition among the companies. Still, there may be plenty of lucrative service opportunities to go around, as biotechs desperate for pipeline diversification, and with money to spend, look for ways to fully exploit the potential of their protein drugs.

BioPharmaceutical Strategy

Live Fitter, Look Better

Aging Baby Boomers with the desire and financial means to do so are taking health care to the next level, seeking fixes for bodily conditions that aren't life-threatening but which do affect comfort and self esteem. Lately device makers have begun heading for the sorts of lifestyle markets pioneered by drugmakers. Given the choice, some investors believe consumers will prefer device solutions over daily pill-popping that reminds them they've got health problems. Some firms are adopting established technologies to new purposes, while others are identifying perceived market needs first, then seeking out technology that can do the job. Opportunities range from aesthetic procedures to treatments for obesity and depression. Lifestyle start-ups face strategic issues that are anything but traditional: How and when to reach out to potential patients and prepare physicians to answer their questions? How to justify reimbursement or convince consumers to pay out of pocket? New challenges are sparking new marketing tactics, such as showing physicians in the distribution channel how to distinguish themselves with new devices.

Medical Device Platform Technologies
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  • Medical Devices
    • Diagnostic Imaging Equipment & Supplies
      • Ultrasound