Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich, and Rosati 2013 Medical Device Conference (www.wsgr/news/medicaldevice.com) focuses on understanding the opportunities and challenges in medical device sector. A panel of experienced CEOs discussed the challenges of getting a new medical technology to market, in the current environment, and shared insights to help overcome early challenges and obtain commercial success.
David Bruce, President and CEO of Arstasis www.arstasis.com shared about how they implemented strategies to accelerate the commercial growth phase of the company. Companies need to define their market and pick the customers, and then figure out how to get through to them, said Bruce. Arstasis was clear that they needed to succeed in the US market and reach the customers with direct sales force. Arstasis offers self-sealing access for femoral catheterizations, securely, without leaks, and with drastically reduced complications. Bruce said that innovative product requires education and going after early innovative types, the risk takers, and sales reps trained to walk away from targets that are not good.
Keith Grossman, President and Director at Conceptus www.conceptus.com , discussed the challenges that come with lack of clear focus. Conceptus, a medical device provider of women’s health market, has a non invasive tubal ligation device that can be placed non-surgically and is more effective than having the tubes tied. It is also allows the doctor to make more money, while being less expensive for the payer. Yet it hit a wall. The company had a lot of people on the ground and was putting a lot of money into sales and marketing efforts. However, there was little clarity on how the customers were segmented and while a lot of customers were being trained and lot of new customers were generated, the company was not doing enough work with existing customers. The sales people were selling more and more products with single digit margins. After clarifying the focus, dramatic changes were made and within 6 quarters it led to double digit growth. Learning from the mistakes, Grossman said, they started too broad and were not penetrating the market deep enough because sales team lacked a guiding strategy. There was misalignment between the marketing message and the sales strategy and there was confusion regarding whether they were looking for penetration or profitability.
Christopher G. Chavez, Chairman, President, and CEO of TriVascular www.trivascular.com , discussed the technology that focuses on serving patients with aortic disease. Traditionally abdominal aortic aneurysm required high invasive open surgical procedure with high risk of mortality and other complications. EVAR or endovascular aortic repair procedures dramatically reduced complications. Trivascular’s initial product offerings are novel endovascular grafts focused on significantly advancing EVAR and addressing this $1B+ market. This is a hugely compelling, underserved, unmet need, said Chavez. They are seeing excellent outcomes in trials and are going into first in man, later this year. To address the marketing challenge, the company plans to focus on creating service excellence, in addition to strong field rep training program and building direct sales force in US and Germany.
Tom Prescott, Director, President, and CEO of Align Technology http://www.align.com shared that the company vision is to help people get beautiful smiles. Align Technology pioneered the invisible orthodontics market, with the introduction of the Invisalign system, in 1999. “Be patient for success, be impatient for patient success”, said Prescott. Marketing is about behavior change and it happens with energy, effort, and commitment.