Elbit Systems Ltd.
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Brief summaries of recent medtech market and industry developments. This month we cover the medtech industry's recent buying spree and present highlights from the annual meeting of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Ever since the transformative success of interventional cardiology, the emergence of new interventional subspecialties seems to come at ever quicker paces. One of the latest clinical spaces to embrace the interventional revolution is pulmonology, which over the past couple of years has seen a host of new procedures and devices transforming traditional procedures. Indeed, the pace at which interventional cardiology evolved now seems almost leisurely compared with that at which interventional pulmonology companies are now moving. Thus, many of the companies in the space face an interesting dilemma: how to establish a foundation in this new specialty and, at the same time, how to refine that technology to keep pace with the field as it grows. That's the challenge facing superDimension, whose executives believe they own not just the road map, but the road itself.
A surprisingly large number of medical device start-ups emerge from Israel, and at the recent In3 (Investment in Innovation) conference sponsored by the Medtech Insight division of Windhover Information Inc. in Brussels, Belgium in late September, a distinguished panel of venture capitalists made sense of the country's unique climate for device innovation. The speakers also had some lessons to offer to fledgling European device companies as well. Taking part in the panel were Avi Molcho, MD, Managing Director, Life Sciences, for Giza Venture Capital, one of Israel's largest venture firms, Zeev Zehavi, VP of Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., responsible for J&J's corporate investments in Europe and Israel, and Yuval Binur, PhD, Chairman of the board of device company creator Accelerated Technologies.
Launched in 2000, Volcano was a promising device start-up in what was seen at the time as one of the most exciting opportunities in cardiovascular medicine to come along in some time: vulnerable plaque. But the practical implications of vulnerable plaque have proved to be elusive, for both cardiologists and product companies. For one thing, while everyone agrees that vulnerable plaque is a fascinating concept, no one yet knows precisely what approach will work best, both in diagnosing the disease and treating it. . As the science of vulnerable plaque evolves, that evolution raises questions about the future relevance of a whole generation of tools to serve interventional cardiology. Thus, companies, like Volcano, that placed early bets on technology based on standard interventional cardiology tools, such as catheter- and guide wire-based devices, have had to hold somewhat contradictory thoughts in their mind at the same time: the benefits of conforming to existing approaches and methodologies in interventional cardiology and the likelihood that vulnerable plaque fundamentally changes certain basic assumptions of that specialty.