Bijan Salehizadeh of NaviMed Capital recently presented more statistics on the great returns that VC investors have realized in the life science industry over the past decade. Life Science investing has outperformed IT over the past 10 years. Really.
You might be surprised to learn that quite of few of those successful investments were New England medical device startups.
In the last half-dozen years, there have been more successful exits than you may think. While a handful have exited in the hundreds of millions, success for many was defined as a solid return on a less-than-$20M total investment.
Somehow these exits have managed to stay under the radar screen. Until now.
Who are these New England medical device startups? Who are the entrepreneurs who led their companies to success?
I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more written about Ardian since their sale to Medtronic last month. It may be the largest venture-backed medical device exit to-date. Ardian’s $800M-plus-milestone-payments may end up being larger than Medtronic’s purchase of CoreValve for $700M-plus-milestone-payments in 2009. Even more unusual was Ardian’s relatively early-stage. At the time of sale, CoreValve had implanted devices in 2,600 patients at 125 centers in 25 countries. Ardian exited much earlier, with about 150 patients treated.
Overnight sensations don’t happen overnight. While Ardian seemed to come out of nowhere in 2009 and exited large in 2010, the truth is that the company had been hard at work for almost 10 years. Ardian achieved more than 10X return on $66M invested – at least $732M of value created, before milestones. While the end of the story is still unwritten, Ardian’s first few chapters form a great case study for medical device entrepreneurs and investors.