Medtech fundings in April 2015

Fundings for medical technologies thus far in April 2015 stand at $189 million, led by the $58.5 million funding of Mesoblast Ltd.

Below are the top fundings for the month.

Company, funding Product/technology
Mesoblast has raised $58.5 million in a round of funding by Celgene Corp. Precursor and stem cells for cell therapy
EBR Systems, Inc., has raised $20 million in a round of funding according to the company Wireless cardiac pacing
Cellular Biomedicine Group, Inc., has raised $19.6 million in a round of funding according to the company Cell therapies for select degenerative diseases and cancers

For the complete list of medtech fundings in April 2015, see link.

For a historical list of the individual fundings in medtech, by month, since 2009, see link.

Sealants/Glues, Hemostats, Other Wound Closure Markets, Size and Growth

Products in wound closure include sutures/staples, tapes, vascular closure devices, surgical hemostats, and surgical sealants/glues.

Wound types have not changed over history, with a slight exception being the emergence (several decades ago) of femoral punctures associated with catheterization procedures. But what has changed, and what continues to evolve, is the practice of closing those wounds. Sutures, staples and tapes are a mainstay of medical practice, representing uncomplicated methods to secure wounds. And while innovators continue to change the form and function of these products to improve performance, the more recently introduced surgical hemostats, vascular closure, and surgical sealants/glues have seized significant shares of wound closure caseload and are growing marginally faster than sutures/staples and tapes. The result is and will be an erosion of traditional wound closure technology shares.

Below is illustrated the size/growth of segments in the global wound closure market.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 7.05.33 AM
Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; “Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Wound Closure Markets, 2013-2018″, Report #S192.

The Five Biggest Medical Technology Forces

There are five fundamental forces driving change in virtually every medical technology market. (There are many other forces, of course, that impact these markets, such as regulation, reimbursement, etc., but here I speak of forces driven by technology and the innovators employing them.) They represent challenges and opportunities — depending merely upon how companies perceive and respond to them.

Devices are no longer devices (only).

An inert medical or plastic device is likely to present little competitive threat. The device that succeeds stretches the boundaries of what a device is. Devices can be:

  • Biocompatible
  • Bioresorbable
  • Bioactive
  • Shape-shifting (e.g., nitinol)
  • Hybridized with drugs, cells, other biologics
  • Integrated with RFIDs and sensors
  • Combinations of the above

Competition comes from all directions. And so does opportunity.

Competition in medical technology has long since been defined by the device, having been replaced by the definition of the specific problem solved. And that problem is the disease state and the costs of managing and/or eliminating it. (An angioplasty catheter’s competition is not just angioplasty catheters, but also drug-eluting and/or bioresorbable coronary stents, drug-coated balloons, atherectomy, minimally invasive coronary artery bypass graft, atherosclerotic plaque-reducing drugs, etc.) Successful innovators consider all possible alternatives to solving the disease state need and define themselves by the solution, not the product. The only limitation a manufacturer has is its willingness to pursue all avenues to solving the problem.

Zero invasiveness.

Any technology that is not focused on the ideal of zero collateral damage, zero complications, and zero adverse side-effects will be threatened by those that do. The advances in materials technologies, medical/surgical techniques and understanding of pathology, among other advances, are sufficient to challenge manufacturers to pursue the goal of zero invasiveness. Just as open surgery has evolved to incisionless surgery, medical technologies increasingly take on the potential to be more like drugs, or better — treating the disease on a one-time basis with no complications whatsoever.

Decentralized, point-of-care technology.

Capital equipment is expensive, big and lethargic. A handheld imaging — ultrasound, even MRI — performed at the patient’s bedside or doctor’s office, offers enormous potential to reduce cost and increase clinical utility. But decentralization is not limited to diagnosis, since treatment is the ultimate goal and its incentives are the same. Of course, the trend moving diagnostics and therapeutics from the centralized to the point-of-care is not a new idea, but the reality is that a whole range of therapeutic devices (e.g., numerous ablation modalities) have been developed that no longer require OR suites, general anesthesia and their associated costs, and imaging systems have been shrinking to the point that words like “handheld” and “MRI” can be used in the same sentence (see Butterfly Network).

Research and development tools eliminate excuses.

R&D is inevitably challenged to evaluate ideas thoroughly, considering difficult to anticipate obstacles and rapidly evaluating ideas to reveal the best prospects and bring them to manufacturing, let alone market. But multiple technologies have been developed and put into use that can accelerate the iterative cycles of development and yield prime product candidates to bring to market — biotech, pharma, biopharm, device, drug/device and others.  Computer modeling of hemodynamic blood flow, computer simulation of drug candidates (hybridized with devices or not), 3D printing (prototypes, custom implants) and many other advances rapidly accelerate and improve the efficiency of product development of products that more perfectly fit the need and eliminate excuses for unforeseen costs and patient complications. R&D is also far more well informed — integrating more complete understanding of systems biology and the consequent downstream benefits and costs of intervening in any particular way. What is left is the ability to more rapidly evaluate and test (more) ideas and bring them to market.

 

Sticky stuff: remora, mussels, geckos, crab shells, Australian burrowing frogs, spider webs, porcupine quills, sandcastle worms

It may not be obvious what links all of these creatures, but it is their all-natural adhesiveness. While we have covered these before, today Researchers at Purdue University report on the development of new glues with industrial applications (including medical) based on glues derived from, or inspired by, mussels and oysters.

The reality is that there is a very wide range of naturally occurring “bio-glues” or other adhesives (or adhesive mechanisms) that are being evaluated for their potential use as medical/surgical glues and adhesives.

(This technique of “biomimicry”, in which products are developed that exploit or replicate features in nature, is not new. Velcro, for instance, was invented in 1941 by Swiss engineer George de Mestral, who recognized a potential product in burrs, the plant seed pods covered with hooked spines that readily attach to fur, fabrics and almost any surface that has filamentous covering.)

Below is a list of organism-derived “bio-glues”, a wide range of naturally-occurring adhesives that are being investigated for their potential development as commercial adhesives, including for medical/surgical adhesion.

Most of these have at least been preliminarily investigated as to why they have such high strength, why they adhere under certain challenging conditions and other considerations. Further research and development, in some cases to an advanced degree, has been done on a number of these to actually either directly utilize these glues, modify them or develop new ones inspired by them.

MedMarket Diligence tracks the medical/surgical markets for fibrin and other sealants, glues, hemostats, tapes, vascular closure devices, and staples/sutures/clips in Report #S192. Products specifically related to closure of wounds (excluding hemostasis*) will exceed $11 billion in sales by 2018:

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 8.08.01 AM

*Hemostasis is covered in report #S192.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S192.

Technologies at Medtech Startups, May 2014

Below is a list of the new medical technologies under development at startups we identified in May 2014 and added to the Medtech Startups Database.

  • Patient positioning system for use in hip replacement and other orthopedic procedures.
  • Instrumentation to facilitate hip replacement surgery and other orthopedic instrumentation.
  • Drug-coated stent-valve designed to inhibit stenosis, obstruction or calcification of the valve.
  • Implants for the treatment of aneurysm.
  • Orthopedic implant technologies including a force sensor to measure performance of an orthopedic articular joint.
  • Insulin patch pump for treatment of insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes.
  • Undisclosed tissue vascular technology
  • Rapid, accurate, inexpensive diagnostic devices initially focused on malaria.
  • Device for diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Tumor-targeted drug delivery.
  • Near infrared technology for blood glucose monitoring in diabetes.
  • Non-resorbable films for anti-adhesion.
  • Angioplasty double balloon for treatment of peripheral vascular disease.
  • Device to reduce the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia.
  • Trocar, sleeve and tip for minimally invasive endoscopic surgery.

For a historical listing of the technologies at medtech startups, see link.

Shifts in Product Usage in Wound Management, 2012 to 2021

Wound management is a field and an industry in a constant state of flux. With so many different technologies involved in addressing wounds, from the chronic to the acute, with technologies from the very well established to the cutting-edge new, the balance of product utilization (and manufacturer revenues) is a constantly moving target.

Traditional wound dressings — simple gauze or other inert bandages — represent a huge existing market by virtue of their broad clinical utility and well established presence in the market (literally, centuries), while novel technologies like growth factors, which have just begun to demonstrate their potential to accelerate healing and/or solve the vexing problem of chronic wounds, have not really begun to penetrate clinical practice and generate substantial caseloads, yetBetween the extremes is a continuous range of products across the spectrum from the established to the novel.

Below is illustrated the 2012 to 2021 shift in the balance of the global wound management products market for the specific product types. The aggregate market is growing over this period at a respectable +7% CAGR, but that aggregate rate belies the individual segment rates ranging from a low of under 2% to a high of over 27%. That makes these share values all the more intriguing.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 3.04.23 PM

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S249.

Applications, global markets in tissue engineering and cell therapy

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 7.37.44 AMThe market for tissue engineering and cell therapy products is set to grow from a respectable $8.3 billion in 2010 to nearly $32 billion by 2018. This figure includes bioengineered products that are themselves cells or are actively stimulating cell growth or regeneration, products that often represent a combination of biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical technologies. The largest segment in the overall market for regenerative medicine technologies and products comprises orthopedic applications. Other key sectors are cardiac and vascular disease, neurological diseases, diabetes, inflammatory diseases and dental decay and injury.

Cell-tissue-applications

Factors that are expected to influence this market and its explosive growth include political forces, government funding, clinical trial results, industry investments (or lack thereof), and an increasing awareness among both physicians and the general public of the accessibility of cell therapies for medical applications. Changes in the U.S. government’s federal funding of embryonic stem cell research has given a potentially critical mass of researchers increased access to additional lines of embryonic stem cells. This is expected to result in an increase in the number of research projects being conducted and thus possibly hasten the commercialization of certain products.

regional-forecast

Source: Report #S520, “Tissue Engineering, Cell Therapy and Transplantation: Products, Technologies & Market Opportunities, Worldwide, 2009-2018.”

Another factor that has influenced the advancement of regenerative technologies is found in China, where the Chinese government has encouraged and sponsored cutting-edge (and some have complained ethically questionable) research. While China’s Ministry of Health has since (in May 2009) established a policy requiring proof of safety and efficacy studies for all gene and stem cell therapies, the fact remains that this research in China has spurred the advancement of (or at least awareness of) newer applications and capabilities of gene and stem cell therapy in medicine.

Meanwhile, stricter regulations in other areas of Asia (particularly Japan) will serve to temper the overall growth of commercialized tissue and cell therapy–based products in that region. Nonetheless, the growth rate in the Asia/Pacific region is expected to be a very robust 20% annually.


MedMarket Diligence’s Report #S520 remains the most comprehensive and credible study of the current and project market for products and technologies in cell therapy and tissue engineering.