John Simpson: Reluctant Entrepreneur
John Simpson never set out to be a physician and still does not consider himself a businessman; yet he is a leading interventional cardiologist and has launched more than a half dozen successful device companies. Simpson takes pride in building successful teams, enabling him to delegate the engineering and business responsibilities to others, while focusing on what he does best: figuring out how to better treat the patient. He is perhaps best known for developing over-the-wire angioplasty through his first company, ACS, and has followed that with companies involved with ultrasound (CVIS), atherectomy (DVI and Fox Hollow), vascular closure (Perclose), and chronic total occlusions (LuMend). Simpson remains iconoclastic when it comes to patient care issues. So although angioplasty is where he made his name, he remains suspicious of stents and hopes through his current venture, Fox Hollow, to minimize their use.
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Avinger: Finally, Seeing Through Total Occlusions, But Will Clinical Value Generate Economic Return?
Noted physician/entrepreneur John Simpson is back. His latest company, Avinger, has finally achieved his long-sought goal: combining imaging and therapeutics in catheter technology for crossing CTOs. Will clinical innovation be enough to reward Avinger in an increasingly economically focused medtech world?
In the past, many medical device companies have seen PVD as a smaller offshoot of the coronary market and have sought to tap the opportunity primarily as a kind of commercial and technological second thought. Thus, they've largely tried to adapt devices developed for the coronary vasculature to peripheral applications-stents are the best example-only to fail, not because the market for PVD devices isn't there, but because significant differences between the anatomy of the peripheral and coronary vasculature mean that coronary devices don't always translate well to this new area. Now, though, as suggested by the success of FoxHollow, which recently went public, one of the most product areas for PVD may be a technology that has been around for a long time in coronary therapy but has gained a shaky reputation: atherectomy. New companies with interventional plaque clearing technologies-Cardiovascular Systems, Pathway Medical, and Minnow Medical-are thus targeting PVD first, coronary arteries, second.
The physician who performed the first US angioplasty and helped launch the most successful stent start-up discusses interventional cardiology--past, present and future.