Big Data Is Coming To Medical Device Marketing and Sales

big-data-infographWhile you might be sick of Amazon telling you that customers who bought product X also often bought product Y, Amazon knows what sells more products. I’ve used the same technique in medical device markets. Last year I wrote about medical device market segmentation using procedure data – finding prospects for your procedure X based on customers who perform procedure Y. Why target interventional cardiology as a whole, or so-called “early adopter interventional cardiologists,” or community hospitals versus academic medical centers, when you can specifically target sub-segments based on actual device use, e.g. IVUS users, chronic total occlusion specialists, or high volume stenters?

In 2014, big data powers marketing in consumer and tech, and it’s coming to medical device marketing and sales. Applied well, big data can focus sales efforts on the likeliest adopters, identify prospects that you never knew existed, and uncover market segments with unique product needs. If you don’t already know the power of big-data-driven marketing in the consumer world, read the recent (chilling) US Federal Trade Commission report on data brokers.

Medical device customers are consumers too. Here’s how I used big data at Candela in 2009 to re-imagine our marketing and sales approach.

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List of Active Healthcare Venture Capital Investors – 2013 Q4

moneyhoney

It’s been almost exactly one year since I updated my list of healthcare venture capital funds with money to invest. I posted updates nine times between late 2010 and late 2012, so a new version is way overdue.

Today, I’m happy to provide an updated list, complete through 2013. While 2013 was no 2003, there are still lots of new funding sources looking to invest in great healthcare startups. Further, Bruce Booth of Atlas Venture predicts that “several other high profile life science funds are ramping up for 2014 fundraises.”

I’ve again included some non-VC firms in the list, as financing can sometimes come as debt, private equity and/or sales-of-future-royalties. I’ve also included some announcements from firms that are no longer investing, as it’s best to identify those firms early.

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New England Venture Funded Medical Device Startup List 2013 Q3

English: Fall in New England.
Fall in New England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to PWC’s recent quarterly MoneyTree report, no new medical device companies achieved Series A fundings in New England in either Q2 or Q3 2013. Zilch, zip, zero, nothin’, no, nada.

I’ve been tracking first-time venture financing of medical device companies in Nw England since 2005. You’ll find the link to my latest list of these companies at the bottom of this post. I wish I had a better update to offer.

What’s causing this New England drought?

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Hospital System Consolidation: Will Your Medical Device Sales Model Adapt?

A physician visiting the sick in a hospital, G...
A physician visiting the sick in a hospital, German engraving from 1682 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About two years ago I noted “The Looming Impact of Healthcare Service Consolidation.” That consolidation ramped up this week, as the second-largest U.S. hospital chain, Community Health Systems, announced it would buy Health Management Associates (which operates 71 hospitals) in the largest hospital acquisition since 2006.

Consolidated systems standardize practices across hospitals and centralize purchasing of new technologies. Yesterday’s physician-champion-decision-maker is being replaced by tomorrow’s hospital-exec/technocrat-decision-maker. Medical device companies can learn a lot from enterprise IT sales.  Will your medical device sales methodology adapt?

There’s a Medical Device For That

English: Foldable, acrylic Intraocular Lens

Like virtually all cataract surgery patients, my parents were thrilled with their cataract procedures. Why not? After a quick office procedure, their new intraocular lenses (IOLs) gave them  better vision than they had experienced for more than a decade.

Now imagine a world with no devices for cataracts, only drugs.  Imagine taking one or more medications every day for the rest of your life – drugs which could not cure cataracts, but which slow the inevitable progression towards blindness. Imagine the typical chronic-medication side effects: somewhere between minor discomfort and an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality.  How does that sound?

When given a choice, I’ll take medical devices over drugs every time. Here’s why.

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Startup Medical Devices Change the World

RDN Procedure 2 - Catheter-based Energy DeliveryIn case you aren’t paying attention, novel medical devices are changing the world. Some recent clinical trial headlines:

Ardian’s Renal Denervation System Demonstrates Sustained Blood Pressure Reduction at 30 Month Follow Up

Asthmatx Bronchial Thermoplasty Provides Long Term Asthma Control Out to 5 Year Follow Up

Percutaneous Valve Technologies’ and CoreValve’s Real World Registry Data Show That Transcatheter Valves Dramatically Improve New York Heart Association class III/IV symptoms and Angina

Barrx’s Endoscopic Ablation Therapy Eliminates Precancerous Esophageal Tissue and Significantly Reduces Disease Progression In Patients with Low Grade Dysplasia

EndoGastric Solutions’ Incisionless Endoscopic Procedure Significantly More Effective at Eliminating Chronic GERD Symptoms than Maximum PPI Dose, New Data Show

CV Ingenuity’s drug-eluting balloon demonstrates good 12 month efficacy in peripheral arterial disease.

Making a real and lasting impact – that’s what medical device startups are all about.

That’s why I do what I do.

Medical Device Venture Funding Trends – Q1 2013

PWCMoneyTree Medical Device Venture Investments 1995-2013The latest quarterly MoneyTree Report was just released, providing some insight into the state of medical device venture funding in the US. I downloaded and plotted the historical trend data for medical device VC investments in the U.S. from Q1 1995 to Q1 2013.  Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

What do the trends tell us?

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Star Medical Device Engineer – Experimental Protocols

My colleague Chris recently noted: “the right way to do things is often a pain in the butt.” No question that most engineers see protocols as a pain in the butt – yet another file to sherpa through the document approval process.

There’s an important logic behind the practice of doing protocols. Imagine doing an experiment on humans (aka a clinical study) without one. But “good product development practice” isn’t the only reason star medical device engineers write protocols. Believe it or not, star medical device engineers view protocol writing as a key element of team leadership and team effectiveness.

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Star Medical Device Engineer – Statistical Thinking

Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher FRS

If you haven’t learned to fear adhesive bonds, you haven’t lived a complete medical device life. Adhesives are truly marvels of transmutation: liquids stay liquid until they magically become solid, and a drop or two of base substance can hold dissimilar materials together with superhuman strength.

Yet control of adhesive processes is always a nightmare. UV fluence or position changes from lamp-to-lamp, and oven temperature varies seasonally. The environment is always too damp or too dry. Dispenser accuracy varies. Somehow the location of your adhesive on today’s device has shifted slightly from last year’s location. With adhesives, you just never know which variable is going to cross the line from in-control to out-of-control. You don’t need a masters in statistics to see that a large number of low-probability process failures adds up to a higher-than-desirable probability of bond failure.

I routinely bore people with my assertion that everyone should be required to study and master statistics in high school. We all need statistics to better understand the world we live in and the news we read. Without statistics literacy, we can easily be misled. In our personal lives, we make financial investments, buy insurance, and make decisions with risks. At work, engineers and scientists need statistics to understand designs, processes and experiments. Sales and marketing people need statistics to understand market attractiveness and sales probabilities. Supply chain and operations experts need statistics to understand forecasts, materials plans, and manufacturing processes. Even accountants and finance types need statistics to understand currency risks, stock options, and financial instruments.

Star medical device engineers master statistics to make better designs in less time. How? Continue reading

Medical Device Startups – Northern California Over New England Again

NE Medical Device Startups 2012Q4In the eight years of data I’ve collected on New England medical device company venture funding, I’ve never seen it this tough. Only four new companies were funded in 2012 (see my complete list below).

You might be tempted to blame VC belt-tightening  or the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” You’d be wrong.  While the macro environment has its challenges, four new NorCal medical device startups were funded in Q4 alone.

What gives?

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