Medtech succeeds by responding to multiple demands

Medtech is resilient, adapting to the changing demands of patients, payers, regulators, and the economy, but only in the hands of the innovators who keep a finger in the wind on these demands.

  1. Comprehensive outcomes versus symptomatic intervention. Competition in medtech, heightened by cost pressures in particular, is characterized by the demand for comprehensive solutions to disease/trauma rather than technologies that simply ameliorate symptoms. Manufacturers are focusing on longer term solutions, competing against the full spectrum of therapeutic alternatives rather than incremental improvements in their widgets.
  2. Whatever the cost, make it lower. Cost is poorly understood in healthcare (hence the problem!), but it is recognized as important simply by the rate at which premiums increase, the percentage of GDP adding to healthcare spending, the cost of Medicare and other similar benchmarks. Cost is difficult to assess in medical technologies, because there are long term, unforeseen implications of nearly every medtech development. Nonetheless, the manufacturer who does not only bow down in homage to cost but also makes cost at least an implicit part of its value proposition will be quickly put out of business.
  3. The life spans of “gold standards” of treatment are getting shorter and shorter. Technology solutions are being developed, from different scientific disciplines, at such a pace as to quickly establish themselves, in a broad enough consensus, as new gold standards. Physicians are increasingly compelled to accept these new new standards or find their caseload shifting to those who do.
  4. Many manufacturers strive for being able to claim their products are “disruptive” — overturning existing paradigms. However, few medtech manufacturers really ever achieve anything more than marginal improvements. Note the relative amount of 510Ks versus PMAs in regulatory approvals (not that a PMA denotes a “disruptive” development).
  5. Materials technologies are defining what is a “device” as well as what they can accomplish. Competitive manufacturers are aggressively gaining a broad understanding of materials technologies to encompass traditional device, pharma, biopharma, biotech, cell biology and others, ensuring their success from a broadly competitive position.
  6. Interest in startup innovations by VCs and large-cap medtech companies has never been more intense, but funding still demands concrete milestones. Proof-of-concept gets entrepreneurs excited, but 510(K) or better is what gets the money flowing. This is not the credit-crunch of 2008, when the sour economy caused funding to largely dry up. Money is indeed flowing into medtech now, as evidenced by the IPO market and the volume of early stage funding, but potential investments — especially at very early stages — are no less intensively vetted. Startups must therefore carry the risk well into the development timeline, when the prospect of their products reaching the market has been demonstrated far more effectively.
  7. Medtech markets are influenced by many forces, but none more strongly than the drive of companies to succeed. Reimbursement. Regulatory hurdles. Healthcare reform. Cost reduction, even a 2.3% medical device excise tax, et cetera, et cetera. None of these hold sway over innovation and entrepreneurship. And the rate of innovation is accelerating, further insulating medtech against adverse policy decisions. Moreover, that innovation is reaching a sort of critical mass in which the convergence of different scientific disciplines — materials technology, cell biology, biotech, pharma and others — is leading to solutions that stand as formidable buttresses against market limiters.
  8. Information technology is having, and will have, profound effects on medical technology development. The manufacturers who “get” this will always gain an advantage. This happens in ways too numerous to mention in full, but worth noting are: drug and device modeling/testing systems, meta-analysis of clinical research, information technology embedded in implants (“smart” devices), and microprocessor-controlled biofeedback systems (e.g., glucose monitoring and insulin delivery). The information dimension of virtually every medtech innovation must be considered by manufacturers, given its potential to affect the cost/value of those innovations.

This is not a comprehensive list of drivers/limiters in medtech, but these stand behind the success or failure of many, many companies.

Patrick Driscoll is an industry analyst and publisher of content on advanced medtech markets through MedMarket Diligence.

Medtech financings for July (to date) stand at nearly $375 million

Financings at medical technology companies for July to date stand at $373.7 million.  Companies included are those in MedMarket Diligence’s area of focus:  medical device and complementary or directly competing companies.

Below are the individual companies included, ranked by the amount financed at each. 

Financing amount

Company (technology focus)


Small Bone Innovations, Inc., raises record $108 million in Series D financing (technologies and treatments for small bones and joints)


ConforMIS Inc. has raised $50 million (custom knee implants and instrumentation)


Oraya Therapeutics has raised $42 million in Series C financing (radiosurgical treatments for eye diseases)


Paradigm Spine has closed on $21.5 million in debt and equity financing (non-fusion spinal implants)


Symetis SA raises $21.2 million to fund clinical trials (percutaneous valve replacement system)


Relievant Medsystems Announces Completion of $20 Million Financing (nerve ablation for treatment of low back pain)


Novasys Medical has received $18.95 million in the second tranche of its fourth round of funding (treatment of stress urinary incontinence)


Lumenis Ltd has received a $15 million equity financing (RF and light-based ablation devices)


BeneChill has raised $13.5 million in Series C funding (therapeutic hypothermia device for cardiac arrest, stroke, and head injury)


Cardiorobotics has raised $11.6 million in an undisclosed financing round (remotely operated minimally invasive probe used in heart and other surgery)


NICO Corp. has raised $10 million in a Series C financing round (minimally invasive removal of tumors from brain and central nervous system tissue)


Chase Medical, Inc., has received $8.1 million of a planned $9.1 million financing round (device used during treatment of congestive heart failure)


Vidacare Corp. has raised $7.6 million in a Series D1 financing round (intraosseous drug and fluid delivery)


EndoGastric Solutions has raised $7.5 million (endoscopic treatment of gastroesophageal reflux and obesity)


Augmenix, Inc., has raised $4.7 million out of a potential $7.5 million undisclosed equity financing round (hydrogel spacers for use in radiation oncology)


SpineGuard S.A. raises $4 million, completing a $15 million first round funding that began with an $11 million round in April (pedicle screw replacement in spine surgery)


SafeStitch Medical, Inc., has entered into two stock purchase agreements with private investors worth $9 million (endoscopic surgical devices)


NeoChord, Inc., has raised $2.8 million in a Series A financing (device for repair of mitral valve regurgitation)


TransMedics, Inc., has raised $2.5 million in a debt offering (organ transplant support technologies)


TriVirix International has raised $750K out of a planned $1.4 million Series C round (contract device manufacturer)




Medical Devices, Other Healthcare Driving VC Investment

According to Dow Jones VentureSource data on second quarter 2009 venture capital investment, medical devices and biopharmaceuticals are driving a boost in VC investment to $5.27 billion. While this is still down from 2Q 2008 levels, it is a 32% increase over the first quarter of 2009. From the Dow Jones VentureSource press release:

Health Care Investment Outpaces IT for First Time

According to VentureSource, the Health Care industry saw $2.23 billion invested in 184 deals completed in the second quarter of 2009, a 14% decline from a year ago when $2.60 billion was put into the same number of deals. This marks the first time on record that health care investment outpaced investment in Information Technology, which attracted $1.88 billion in the second quarter.

"Health care investment was the only sector to spring back to levels seen before the economic meltdown that began in the third quarter of 2008," said Ms. Canning. "The recovery in the biopharmaceutical and medical device sectors is driving the rebound in overall venture investments this quarter."

By sector, biopharmaceutical investment slipped 14% from $1.42 billion in 85 deals in the second quarter of 2008 to $1.22 billion put into 71 deals in the most recent quarter. Investment in medical device companies fell 26% from the $1.04 billion put into 77 deals last year to $766 million invested in 79 deals in the most recent quarter. These declines were offset somewhat by a strong quarter in the health care services sector, in which investment nearly tripled from a year ago to $145 million.

In the medical device sector alone, MedMarket Diligence has tracked over $300 million invested in July to date. See July 2009 medtech investment.

More funding added to the “equity overhang”

Foundation Medical Partners announced this week that it has raised $58.6 million toward a planned goal of $150 million for its Foundation Medical Partners III fund.   The fund invests in medical device, biopharmaceutical and predictive medicine technology sectors.

As we previously noted in "equity overhang", there is now an aggregate of approximately of $400 million raised by venture capital but not invested, while VCs (I can only presume) carefully monitor the economy, evaluate market conditions or otherwise delay their decisions to make active investments with the funds raised.  While some of that $400 million may have already been invested (indeed, see month-to-date specific medtech financings for June 2009), the new funds raised by Foundation and others subsequent to the equity overhang assessment (June 2, 2009) contribute to a large pool of funds that seed, startup, early and later stage medtech companies are clearly anxious to get their hands on during the curent cash-restricted climate. 

Nonetheless, it is encouraging to see that funds can be raised at this time and at this level.  It will be further encouraging when the funds are actually invested in those companies.

Medtech Financings, June 2009

The medtech industry continues to see some reticence on the part of venture capital toward investing, particularly at the seed stage, but as noted previously, funds are in the coffers of the VC, just waiting for the right opportunity.

Here are some opportunities, for the month-to-date in June 2009, that were validated by VC investment:


Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC, and company press releases.

Medtech startups by clinical/technology focus and state

For the purpose of profiling some medtech startups, I was reviewing the state-by-state numbers of companies in our medtech startups database and revealed some interesting concentrations in the data. First, it should be no surprise that California, long having a tradition in this industry, has more medtech companies than any other state.



Concentrations of companies with technologies in specific clinical or technology areas show some variation (aside from Calif. having most in all categories).



There is no compelling take-home message here, as the data on states reflect predominantly a geographic correlation with population. The mistake in reviewing this data is as much to overestimate a state’s contribution as to underestimate it.  Some compelling technologies have emerged from some relatively rural parts of the U.S.  Correspondingly, positioning a medtech startup in Silicon Valley may provide access to capital, but is no guarantee of commercial success of technology development.

While the above post considers startups in the USA, which indeed is a significant contributer to company formation, the Medtech Startups Database details companies globally.  The database also categorizes companies by 24 different clinical/technology types, including the six categories listed above.

Healthcare Venture Capital Firms

[timed ondate=”20100101″ offdate=”20101008″]See link for offer of recent medtech market analyses at 40% off.[/timed]

(The list below has been updated. See link.)

Recent MedMarket Diligence Reports

Diabetes Management Worldwide

Ablation Technologies Worldwide

Tissue Engineering and Cell Therapy Worldwide

Worldwide Wound Management

Worldwide Coronary Stents

Worldwide Surgical Sealants


Below is a listing of the venture capital firms whose portfolios I track.  Because VC firms regularly update their websites and often reorganize content, these links are subject to change, but I can guarantee that at the time of this writing, 95% (my rough estimate) of the links below are active and current.

These firms are active in healthcare funding, whether biotech, biopharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic, pharmaceutial, healthcare IT, healthcare services or other healthcare.

URLs are — sorry, these are not active hyperlinks as there were just too many for me to convert!  The URLs provided for each are (as available) the specific investment portfolio pages, detailing the companies in which the VC firm has current or former healthcare investments.

I welcome updates, corrections or additions to this list!

Venture Firm / Portfolio URL

21Ventures | Life Science Portfolio Companies

Aberdare Ventures

Abingworth life science investment

Accuity Medical Ventures

Adams Street Partners – Investment Strategies: Venture Capital / Growth Equity

Advantage Capital

Alloy Ventures


Alta Partners

Andcor Companies

Angel Capital Association

Angel Healthcare Investors

Apax Partners – Investments

Apjohn Ventures

Arboretum Ventures

Arcapita Ventures

Archangel BioVentures

Ascension Health Ventures

Ascent Biomedical Ventures

Asset Management Company | Portfolio

Aurora Funds

Aweida Venture Partners

Band of Angels

Bay Angels Investment Group

Bay City Capital



BioGeneration Ventures

BioStar Ventures

Borealis Ventures

Boulder Ventures

California Technology Ventures, LLC

Canaan Partners

Care Capital

Charter Life Sciences

Chicago Growth Partners

China High Tech PR

CHL Medical Partners

Cleveland Clinic Spin-Off Companies

CMEA Ventures

Crossbow Ventures

De Novo Ventures – Portfolio Companies

Delphi Ventures

Domain Associates, LLC

Early Stage Partners LP

EDF Ventures – Portfolio Companies

Emergent Growth Fund I

Emergent Growth Fund II

Emergent Technologies

Emerging Technology –

Enterprise Partners Venture Capital

Finistere Partners, LLC

FirstMark Capital

Flagship Ventures

Fletcher Spaght Portfolio Companies

Forward Ventures

Foundation Medical Partners


Frazier Healthcare Ventures

Funk Ventures > Portfolio

Galen Partners — Portfolio

Giza Venture Capital

Global Healthcare Investments & Solutions

Golden Pine Ventures | Portfolio Companies

Grand Angels

Greylock Partners – Portfolio

H.I.G. Ventures

Hamilton Bioventures

Harbert Venture Capital

Hatteras Venture Partners

Hercules Technology Growth Capital

Highland Capital Partners

HLM Venture Partners

Innovation Accelerator (UC San Francisco)

iNovia Capital

Intersouth Partners

Interwest Partners

Jerusalem Ventures InnoMed Fund


Kaiser Permanente National Venture Development

KPCB – Portfolio Companies

Latterell Venture Partners

Leader Ventures

Life Science Angels

Longitude Capital

Magic Venture Capital: Portfolio Companies

Massey Burch Capital

Mentortech Ventures

Mesa Verde Venture Partners

Misgav Venture Accelerator

Mitsui Ventures

Montagu Newhall Associates | Direct investments

Montreux Equity Partners

MPM Capital

NBGI Ventures

New Enterprise Associates

New Leaf Ventures

New World Angels

NewSpring Ventures: A NewSpring Capital Fund

NGN Capital

Noro-Moseley Partners

North Bay Angels

North Coast VC

Oakwood Medical Investors IV

Onset Ventures


Originate Ventures

Oxford Bioscience Partners

Oxford Capital Partners – Portfolio

Pappas Ventures: Providing Venture Capital for Life Science Companies – Portfolio

Pasadena Angels

Paul Capital Healthcare

Phenomenelle Angels Fund

Piedmont Angel Network

Pinnacle Ventures

Pitango Venture Capital – Portfolio Companies

Pitango Venture Capital – Portfolio Companies

Polaris Ventures – Portfolio Listing

Polaris Ventures – Portfolio Listing

Portfolio Companies – Medical Technology

Portfolio: Prospect Venture Partners

Prism Venture

Prospect Venture Partners (portfolio page 1)

Prospect Venture Partners (portfolio page 2)

Psilos Website :: Portfolio Companies

PTV Sciences

Quaker BioVentures – Portfolio Companies

Radius Ventures

Rain Source Capital

Sacramento Angels

Sanderling Ventures

Sante Ventures

Saratoga Ventures LP

Seed Capital Fund of Central NY

Seroba BioVentures investing in  lifescience, biotechnology & medical technology companies

Shalon Ventures – welcome

Skyline Ventures

Solstice Capital

Southeast Techinventures

Split Rock Partners

Spray Ventures – Cardio

Spray Ventures – Gastro

Spray Ventures – Gyn

Spray Ventures – Neuro

Spray Ventures – Ophthal

Spray Ventures – Ortho

Spray Ventures – Pulmonary

Spray Ventures – Urology

Spray Ventures – Vascular

Springboard Capital LLC

St. Louis Arch Angels

Sterling Start

Stocton Partners

Stonehenge Capital

Sutter Hill Ventures – Portfolio –

SV Life Sciences

SV Life Sciences


Sycamore Ventures – Partnership Beyond Capital

Synecor (incubator)

Tech Coast Angels

Techno Venture Management GmbH

Telegraph Hill Partners

The Carlyle Group : Portfolio Companies

The Halo Fund

Third Rock Ventures

Thomas, McNerney & Partners

Three Arch Partners Portfolio

Toucan Capital

Trevi Health Ventures

Triathlon Medical Ventures –

Tricardia Ventures

US Venture Partners

Vanguard Ventures


Venture Investors, LLC

Versant Ventures

Versant Ventures – Healthcare and Biotech Venture Capital

Versant Ventures – Healthcare and Biotech Venture Capital

Versant Ventures :: Welcome :: Investments in medical devices, biotech and pharmaceuticals, healthcare services, and healthcare information technology

Vertical Group

Village Ventures

Vitalife – Life Sciences VC

Vivo Ventures: Our Portfolio

vSpring Capital

Warburg Pincus

WI Harper

Windamere Venture Partners

Wisconsin Investment Partners – Portfolio

Yankee Equity Solution

Yellowstone Capital

An ebb tide lowers all boats, but medtech is still afloat

As a follow up to a thread on Twitter that took place today regarding medtech, I thought I would just briefly post the number of examples of recent financings in medtech. Despite one part of conversation, when someone trotted out the old argument about how medtech needlessly contributes to rising healthcare costs (which was abruptly cut off by reference to VC support of startups that focus on cost), the thrust of feedback and commentary was positive about medtech attracting funding.

Here is just a cursory list of medtech companies who have recently (within the last month) received financing at this less than optimum time:

  • Mpex Pharmaceuticals Announces Series D Financing of Up to $40 Million
  • ALung Technologies raises $1mm of potential $2.5mm financing
  • SynergEyes, Inc. Raises $13.3 Million in ‘Series C’ Financing
  • Arcxis Biotechnologies(R) Secures Series B Financing (undisclosed amount)
  • Diagnosoft(R) Secures $4 Million in Financing
  • DNA Therapeutics Closes 2.2 Million EUR Series A Financing Round
  • The Foundry Announces New Partners and Completion of Series A Financing for Eleventh Company
  • Medical device co SteadyMed raises $2M
  • Avantis Medical Systems, Inc. Raises $10 Million in Series C Funding
  • Hydra Biosciences Raises $22 Million in Series D Financing
  • Alter-G Secures $8 Million in Series B Financing from Versant Ventures
  • Singulex Closes $19 Million Financing Round
  • InSet Technologies Completes $25 Million Financing
  • Acclarent, Inc. Closes $26 Million Financing

Although this is indeed an anecdotal snapshot of the status of funding in medtech, one can at least point to the fact that roughly $150 million has been pumped into medtech in the last month.  By some accounts, that’s pretty remarkable during this cash-poor economic downturn. By my accounts, however, it’s a fair reflection of the value of medtech especially during an economic downturn.  

I’ll make this point again: An ebb tide lowers all boats, but medtech is still afloat while other industries have already, or ar about to, run aground.