If you simply compare the average development times of pharmaceuticals, biotech and medical devices, you will see that medical devices demonstrate the shortest time from conception to market (or rejection). Devices, by virtue of providing, in many cases, a simple mechanical function — flatten atherosclerotic plaque against the lumen (angioplasty), keep it there (stents), close wounds (sutures, staples), reduce stomach size (lapband), etc. — have fewer inherent possible downstream complications compared to pharmaceuticals, with their more powerful chemical effects, or biotech products, with their more power biochemical, genetic or other effects.Â
So, it is not surprising that when recession hits the economy, forcing a more shortened view of investment returns, medical devices garner a relative edge in investment. Â Hence, it was not surprising to see this article: Â Economy catches up with biotech investingÂ today.
It is a double-edged sword, indeed, that devices are more “blunt” in their effects, with reduced likelihood of the scope and degree of downstream affects of biotech and pharmaceutical products. Â Shorter development cycle equates with faster routes to market, not larger market opportunity or, in the case of patients, better long term outcomes.