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The development of medical devices and techniques that enable physicians to perform procedures less invasively has transformed the way medicine is practiced in many fields, including cardiology, radiology, neurology and orthopedics, and giving rise to thriving sub-specialties such as interventional cardiology. Pulmonx, a start-up launched by veteran physician/entrepreneur Rodney Perkins, MD, is looking to repeat that pattern through devices designed to spur the development of a new specialty, interventional pulmonology, while also improving the tools used in anesthesiology, internal and emergency medicine. While the company appears thus far to have the field to itself, Pulmonx faces major challenges in terms of the financing hurdles that come with a start-up's efforts to break new ground, as well as reimbursement issues in one of its primary product areas. Along with those challenges come major opportunities to capitalize on the advantages to patients, providers and payers that interventional procedures have brought to other clinical fields; and to become a market-maker in a new physician specialty.
Dissatisfied with the returns of stocks in health care? Try death care! The announcement that Procept Inc. will merge with a company that sells funeral services on the Internet was another nail in the coffin for small-cap biotech stocks.
Just a few years ago, Tenet was overshadowed nearly to invisibility by the Columbia/HCA juggernaut. Now it has reversed roles, and suppliers have come courting. But instead of playing by traditional group purchasing rules, Tenet hopes to make its mark by going in the opposite direction from everyone else, shaking up a stagnant industry.
Becton Dickinson's strength in medical devices has always been building large market shares in high volume lines and then managing for profitability through more efficient manufacturing. But the company has begun an aggressive growth campaign just as its core businesses have begun to stagnate. Customer consolidation and more aggressive competition is leading this cautious company to become a risk-taker.
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