Posts Tagged Health Monitoring
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Biotech - Medical Device - Life Science - Healthcare on January 27, 2014
The OneMed forum conference was launched in January of 2008, when economy was showing all signs of progressing to new heights, with an objective to showcase innovation in medtech. The conference aimed to bring together the companies and investors, during the large influx of healthcare investors and executives, during the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, in San Franciso. Fast forward to 2014 and we are perhaps just emerging from one of the worst recessions; a downturn that hit the medtech sector more than any other industry segment.
This year, the location of OneMed Forum was changed and the venue was moved further away from the JP Morgan Conference. Since the weather in SF was gorgeous, it was not a problem; but if the venue continues to be further away in future, and in the event of cold and rainy weather, it can have an impact and lower the attendance at future OneMed events. This year also OneMed event seemed to be sparsely attended, although that appearance might also be enhanced because the meeting rooms were spread out on two different floors and there wasn’t a single spill out location for the participants to meet and network – another problem with the venue.
There was also a palpable difference between the JP Morgan conference and the OneMed Forum, this year, in terms of optimism. While biotech and pharma sector is returning to pre-recession levels with a large number of IPOs and higher numbers of dollars raised, medical technology companies have yet to see significant investment dollars. On talking with the participants, I heard a note of disappointment regarding low attendance from VCs and other investors, just like in the last few years.
However, despite slow pickup and staggering growth in the medtech sector, it is transforming and the companies are learning to operate more efficiently. It is also recognized that healthcare is at a critical point and medical innovation will have to address some key challenges. Various panels and speakers at the OneMed Forum, addressed the changing healthcare landscape and how the future of health and medicine will need to be shaped, in the coming years to address the key issues.
Personalized Medicine Panel discussed the promise offered by customized diagnosis and treatments, in lowering the cost and increasing effectiveness. Panel sessions addressing the JOBS Act and the Affordable Care Act, explored the impact of the legislation on cost of care and access to care. Companies and solutions that may be poised to offer effective healthcare solutions and may also present interesting investment opportunities were highlighted. In somewhat grim medtech landscape, digital health is emerging as the hottest new trend, with much potential. The Digital Health panel discussed the impact of Affordable Care Act in increasing information transparency and empowered consumers taking greater control of their health information. The changing role of the patients/ consumers will require change in the healthcare delivery and transformation in the business model.
A panel addressing “reimbursement strategy after the affordable care act”, discussed impact of medicare payment rules on medtech and hospital markets. The panel also discussed trends in coverage and payment for newly emerging molecular diagnostic tests. One key advice from the panel was that thinking upfront about the reimbursement strategy will be increasingly more important for companies with new, innovative products. A panelist also suggested that during clinical trials, companies can also think about reimbursement and instead of doing only what may be required by the FDA, if they can also collect reimbursement data then they would come out ahead. During innovation, the companies should relentlessly focus on disease management, and that would lead to them to appropriate and effective reimbursement strategy, advised the panel.
Financing and IPO issues were addressed in various panels. One interesting panel on Crowdfunding discussed a handful of portals that are beginning to raise some capital for emerging growth companies. One investor who was attending the panel, later told me, that it is too early to give an opinion on what kind of success this strategy would yield, but he had some grave concerns. AdvaMed CEO’s Unplugged Panel featured some of top leaders of the MedTech industry, who shared their insights on key challenges facing the industry. Stuart Randle, CEO of GI Dynamics advised startups to focus on crucial healthcare issues including obesity. He also advise companies to pursue capital intensive strategy, and at least initially sell products outside the US. Scott Brooks, CEO of Regenesis Biomedical, advised startups to get good legal and regulatory counsel early on. Patrick Daly, CEO of Cohera Medical was optimistic about the future of MedTech. “IPOs are coming back, M&A is picking up, and dollars are rolling in, big companies have record levels of cash, and I feel positive”, he said.
One of the most prolific financiers, Bill Hambrecht gave a keynote address. Hambrecht has over 500 IPO’s to his credit that include seed level funding in nascent industries. Although I did not attend the keynote, I heard some highly positive comments from an attendee. Steven Burrill, who has been at the helm of innovation in healthcare and shares and who regularly shares his insights through his annual reports, gave a second keynote. Again, I missed the address but both keynotes were major highlights of the event. Throughout the conference, over 800 emerging companies gave presentations. Following the presentations, partnering and breakout sessions gave the opportunity for conference delegates to meet the CEO’s of these companies.
Although it may seem hard to believe, it appears that now the MedTech sector has nowhere to go but up. The industry has learned some hard lessons, the companies are lean, operating with greater efficiency, spending cash wisely, and instead of hawking next new technology, they are focused on key problems facing the healthcare industry, and on providing effective solutions. If the healthcare providers are not eager to incorporate some of the solutions, then it will happen out of necessity. It will become incumbent upon the healthcare industry to implement solutions offering greater ROI in terms of improved health and lower cost. Healthcare providers will be looking for solutions that provide digital and point of care diagnosis and health monitoring and treatment options and solutions from personalized medicine and genomic health. Let us stay tuned for some cool innovations from the MedTech sector in 2014. Senior Analyst at Wells Fargo, Larry Biegelsen has also observed that not only acceleration in healthcare spending is expected in 2014 but there are number of other tailwinds including, “emerging technologies and emerging markets contributing more to growth and a more industry-friendly FDA, which should lead to faster approval times for medical devices”.
For the opportunities below, please send resume at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com. Please indicate in the email how closely the job description matches your background and identify gaps, if any. Also, indicate your current compensation and compensation expectations.
Pharmacologist with Large Animal Survival Surgery Experience: San Jose, CA
A dynamic company, found by a veteran leader, involved in the development of drug-device combination products for treating chronic diseases, has an opening for a Biologist with large animals in-vivo experience. This is once in a lifetime kind of an opportunity to work on exciting technology with game changing potential.
The candidate must have hands-on in vivo survial surgical research experience working with large animal models during their doctoral and post-doctoral training period. A Ph.D. in Physiology/Pharmacology or any other related Biology discipline or a DVM working for either a mid-sized CRO or industry could be a good fit. The individual is expected to have a breadth of experience in in-vitro and in-vivo biological research supporting various drug/ device development programs across multiple therapeutic areas including CNS, oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. ed CRO or industry could be a good fit. A DVM working in an animal clinic would not be a good fit because research experience is required. Candidates describing in vivo experience in their resume with mainly small animals such as mice and rats would not be ideal either.
The applicant will support and work with external institutions including CROs and academic institutions especially for conducting in vivo studies in small as well as large animals. Additionally the applicant will set up and run a variety of routine in vitro research paradigms as needed such as isolated tissue and cell-based assays as well as quantitative assays for small molecules, peptides and proteins using techniques such as FTIR, HPLC, and immunoassay. The applicant will work with a multidisciplinary team of experts and provide biology support with minimal supervision on various ongoing projects. The position requires a strong background in cell biology, chemistry, biochemistry, immunology, physiology or a related area. Position, salary and benefits are commensurate with experience.
Machine Learning Specialist – San Francisco, CA
Revenue generating, remote health monitoring company, located in San Francisco, CA, tracking heart rate, sleep patterns and more has an immediate opening for a Machine Learning Specialist.
Requirements: Minimum 5 years experience in creating high-performance classifiers, preferably working on biological data. Deep knowledge, skills and experience in machine learning techniques, in particular for processing large databases of biological information. Should be proficient and able to design, operate and validate intelligent systems from scratch. Excellent written, verbal and teamwork skills. Highly preferred: Relevant bio experience, such as working with biological signal databases; Experience in engineering for consumer devices/services; and Python expertise.
Responsibilities: Lead the development of algorithms based on the signals from our advanced multi-sensing device, both in real time and on databases of saved sensor data; Work on top secret projects pertaining to future product offerings; Work closely science and devices teams to integrate the work into our consumer products.
Python Programmer – Sunnyvale, CA
A contract engineering company has an immediate need for Programmer with Python expertise for about 40 hours of work. An existing test program written in Python collects data and prints it. The data needs to be written to an Access database residing in another computer on a network. The company is looking for someone to make this change. The right person needs to be experienced with Python and understand how to write data to a database from Python. The author of the original program is available for assistance.
Analog Design Engineer – Sunnyvale, CA
A Contract Engineering company located in Sunnyvale, CA has an immediate part-time contract opportunity for Analog Design Engineer, that is likely to become permanent in 3-6 months. Minimum 10 years of experience with analog circuit design, including amplifiers, ADCs, power supplies, and sensor signal conditioning is required. Also required, experience with digital design and ability to work with digital engineers to develop successful integrated products. Experience with signal integrity and/or RF design a plus.
The person must work well on a team, have good communication skills, and be able to adjust quickly in a fast paced environment where many designs are done simultaneously. This is a challenging and rewarding opportunity for the right person.