Posts Tagged ‘medical devices’
At a recent event held by The Medical Development Group (MDG), a panel of speakers spoke to device startups about the state of M&A activity in 2009.
Daniel Lepanto, Managing Director of Mergers and Acquisitions for Leerink Swann spoke about the availability of investment money to make deals. Amarpreet Sawheney, PhD, President and CEO of I-Therapeutix spoke from the entrepreneur’s perspective on how to make your company more attractive, and generate competition among suitors. And Don Haut, PhD, Senior VP Strategy and Business Development for Smith and Nephew Endoscopy spoke from the buyer’s perspective about what exactly takes place behind closed doors during a deal, and why it takes so long.
The panel presented a compelling picture of the dynamics involved in an acquisition, but my interest is in branding and marketing, so you might think there was little to take away from the presentation. Two points were made that speak to the importance of branding.
1. In this market, there are just not that many companies looking to buy and those who are are in a clearly advantageous position. Dr. Sawheney cautioned entrepreneurs not to simply jump at the first offer, and in fact, to be prepared to go back and continue to build the business. To me, that not only means research and development, it also means that companies must continue the work of positioning and branding their products.
2. As someone personally responsible for acquisitions for Smith and Nephew, I asked Dr. Haut whether or not the state of a company’s brand is taken into account when determining its value. He replied, “A company with a strong brand is nearly always more valuable than one without a strong brand.”
It seems that branding is one of the last things that young companies think about. And who can blame them with so many other pressing issues on their plates? But companies who get it right add real value to their business.
Branding is an investment that will show real returns whether the company chooses to take their device to market, or whether they ultimately find themselves in a position to be acquired.
In the April issue of our newsletter, Designochology, I discussed the impact that the “gift ban” regulations will have on the marketing of medical devices.
Volumes have been written about the new state and federal regulations, and how they’re changing the sales process for medical device companies. Doctors are less receptive to seeing representatives and device companies are struggling with how to support physicians CME needs while staying within the letter of the law(s).
I’ve seen much less written on the impact that new regulations will have on the marketing mix that device companies choose to employ. Will they turn more and more to online tools like Webinars and social media, or do traditional marketing tools play an even more important role considering the limitations on personal contact with physicians?
One trend has been noted that’s worth watching. In the MDD Exec report, Selling Devices and Diagnositcs: The World is Changing, 150 medical device and diagnostic executives were surveyed and data showed that a shift is happening in the buying process within hospitals. Physicians have traditionally been the key decision makers for any new device purchase. And though the physician was identified as the key customer by 57% of respondents, almost a third identified the patient, the payor or hospital administration as the key customer.
This fact is worth considering when developing your value proposition. The economics of your solution may need to take a more prominent role in your messaging, and the movement toward Direct to Patient (DTP) communications means marketing messages can’t get so wrapped up in the technology that they forget the diagnostic and therapeutic benefits that patients need to hear.
A new web-only publication MassDevice.com was recently launched to serve the Massachusetts medical device market.
You might ask, do we really need another publication to serve the life sciences industry? But the problem with nearly all of the currently available sources is that coverage tends to be dominated by pharma and biopharma news. And though they’re often linked together by the media and by governing bodies, there are important distinctions between the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
Massachusetts’ medical device companies deserve the focus, and the resources that this new site intends to give. Not only is the state the center of the medical device universe (a $8.3 billion industry in the state, according to MassDevice.com), it now must operate under the nation’s most restrictive regulations governing industry payments to physicians.
Best of luck to MassDevice.com. We’ll be watching.
Recently, I visited a family member in the hospital who had had complications with childbirth. As I waited for my opportunity to visit, a stream of doctors and nurses came and left. I paced back and forth from the hospital room to the nursery where the newborn was gamely battling an infection. Through the nursery window, I could see the baby boy connected to an automatic IV drug dispenser and surrounded by state-of-the-art monitoring equipment. Countless medical device carts were scattered along the hallway, ready to be deployed — an AED, blood pressure monitors, ECG monitors, numerous laptops fired up, and ready to go. Though there was nothing I could do to help the mother or the baby, it was mildly comforting to know that what I do for a living was, in a very small way, connected to the efforts that were going on there. By helping good companies get the best devices into hospitals, maybe I’ve done all I can.