Posts Tagged Medical Devices

JOBS – March, 2021


Please see my current opportunities below. All opportunities are for local (US based) candidates with valid work visa with all required industry experience.  If you have an interest then please send an email (resume as an attachment). Please find me on Linkedin.

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Quality Engineer – South San Jose, CA

Exciting bay area start-up on catheter development to focus on improved outcomes of arterial disease has an immediate opportunity for a manufacturing minded Quality Engineer.

Responsibilities

Support QA/QC/QS functions and activities in a medical device manufacturing environment; Establish purchased materials RI acceptance criteria & perform RI; In-process/final device inspection; Technical Writing for Design History File documents etc, Regulatory & Quality System documents; Design, write & perform equipment qualifications & process validations; establish & maintain equipment calibration & maintenance; support team, contract manufacturers & suppliers with robust & statistically valid testing, sample size selection, monitoring & analysis requirements

Requirements

5+ years medical device work experience (vascular catheter exp preferred), formal statistics training, Validation protocol design & report writing exp, exp to work in & maintain compliance of a certified QMS related to configuration control, document control & change control, enthusiasm for producing cool new products for catheter development. College education preferred.

Quality Assurance Engineer – N. San Jose, CA

The Sr. Quality Assurance Engineer supports compliance with applicable regulatory requirements by maintaining an effective quality management system and implementing continuous improvements. This position is responsible for activities ranging from product development through commercialization. This is a hands-on role where the Sr. Quality Engineer will apply diversified knowledge of engineering, quality principles and practices for pharmaceutical and combination products. This position requires technical expertise in Aseptic Techniques. The Senior Quality Engineer is responsible for performing a quality role for the aseptic manufacturing, quality systems and compliance in accordance with cGMP, related company SOP’s, federal laws, guidelines, and regulations during the receipt, storage, manufacture, and distribution of products. 

Requirements

  • Maintain & improve company’s Quality System in accordance with FDA Regulations and ISO 13485 requirements
  • Provide hands-on direction for aseptic process and cGMP manufacturing activities 
  • Support quality assurance activities, including, but not limited to: Risk Management (FMEAs, HA), internal and external audits, NCMRs and CAPAs
  • Collaborate with cross functional teams Manufacturing, Engineering, Facilities to ensure adherence to cGMP guidelines
  • Conduct investigations for issues associated with audits, lot history records and complaints. Approve manufacturing and testing deviations and investigations 
  • Evaluation and support for implementation of new processes, lead continuous improvement of aseptic / sterile processes
  • Lead and support qualification and validation of cGMP equipment, facilities, utility systems, analytical test methods, cleaning and manufacturing processes. These duties will include, but are not limited to: the implementation and documentation of these validations and their lifecycle management in compliance with FDA and EU regulations
  • Manage the deviation system, perform QA assessment of deviations and ensure that all assessments are completed, review and approve deviation reports
  • Assist in the review and approval of lot history records and test records
  • Conduct audits at CMO, testing operations and internal audits
  • Assist in development, review and approval of process and equipment validation/qualifications (IQ, OQ, PQ), summary reports, ensure qualifications are conducted in accordance with the Validation Master Plan
  • Investigate product quality problems and determine root cause, gather and analyze data, and implement corrective actions to reduce or eliminate cause
  • Lead the resolution of quality issues related to non-conformance reports and CAPAs
  • Develop and initiate sampling procedures and statistical process control methods
  • Address systemic quality issues with suppliers or internal groups
  • Evaluate product changes for qualification and validation requirements and assist in change implementations
  • Other duties/ activities may be necessary to support departmental or company goals

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in Chemistry, Biology, or equivalent scientific discipline
  • A minimum of 7 years quality assurance/engineering experience within the pharmaceutical or biopharmaceutical industry is required
  • cGMP experience is required
  • Experience with performing utility qualification activities for vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) system is preferred Excellent communication skills both oral and written
  • Understands and applies comprehensive knowledge of quality and GMP principles. Maintains current understanding of global GMP regulations
  • Experience with FDA Regulations (21 CFR part 820, part 210 and part 211) and ISO Standards (ISO 13485 and ISO 14971) is required
  • Experience regarding root cause analysis and statistical techniques (such as Cause and Effect Analysis, Fishbone Diagram, 5 Whys, Six Sigma processes)

Senior Quality Engineer – N. San Jose, CA

The Sr. Quality Assurance Engineer supports compliance with applicable regulatory requirements by maintaining an effective quality management system and implementing continuous improvements. This position is responsible for activities ranging from product development through commercialization. This is a hands-on role where the Sr. Quality Engineer will apply diversified knowledge of engineering, quality principles and practices for class II and class III medical devices and combination products. This position also ensures that the company complies with all applicable federal, industry, and company procedures, guidelines, and regulations during the receipt, storage, manufacture, and distribution of products.Requirements

  • Maintain and improve the quality system in accordance with FDA Quality System Regulation and ISO 13485 requirements
  • Support quality assurance activities, including, but not limited to: Risk Management (FMEAs, HA), internal and external audits, NCMRs and CAPAs
  • Investigate product quality problems and determine root cause, gather and analyze data, and implement corrective actions to reduce or eliminate cause
  • Lead the resolution of quality issues related to non-conformance reports and CAPAs
  • Assist in development, review and approval of process and equipment validation/qualifications (IQ, OQ, PQ).
  • Provide QE support to production, purchasing and engineering
  • Support/lead test method validation activities
  • Conduct and support the development and validation of appropriate test methods for product and process performance
  • Develop and initiate sampling procedures and statistical process control methods
  • Support product line manufacturing and design stages by ensuring validation of manufacturing equipment and processes are conducted in accordance with the Validation Master Plan
  • Address systemic quality issues with suppliers or internal groups
  • Oversee calibration and preventive maintenance program
  • Assist in the review of lot history records and disposition of product (subassembly and finished goods)
  • Work with engineering to develop adequate inspection criteria
  • Perform statistical analysis such as capability, gage R&R, and statistical process control
  • Evaluate product changes for qualification and validation requirements and assist in change implementations
  • Other duties/ activities may be necessary to support departmental or company goals

Education and Job Experience

  • A minimum of 7 years quality assurance/engineering experience is required. Experience in a regulated industry (medical device,) is required
  • BS degree in Engineering is required
  • Experience with FDA Quality System Regulations and ISO Standards (ISO 13485 and ISO 14971) is required
  • Experience with non-conformances, CAPA, and Risk Management is required
  • Experience in performing test method validation and Gage R&Rs
  • Extensive experience regarding root cause analysis and statistical techniques (such as Cause and Effect Analysis, Fishbone Diagram, 5 Whys, Six Sigma processes)
  • CQE, CQA preferred

Quality Engineer – South San Jose, CA

Exciting bay area start-up on catheter development to focus on improved outcomes of arterial disease has an immediate opportunity for Quality Engineer.

Responsibilities
Support QA/QC/QS functions and activities in a medical device manufacturing environment; Establish purchased materials RI acceptance criteria & perform RI; In-process/final device inspection; Technical Writing for Design History File documents etc, Regulatory & Quality System documents; Design, write & perform equipment qualifications & process validations; establish & maintain equipment calibration & maintenance; support team, contract manufacturers & suppliers with robust & statistically valid testing, sample size selection, monitoring & analysis requirements

Requirements
5+ years medical device work experience (vascular catheter exp preferred), formal statistics training, Validation protocol design & report writing exp, exp to work in & maintain compliance of a certified QMS related to configuration control, document control & change control, enthusiasm for producing cool new products for catheter development. College education preferred.

Director of Regulatory Affairs – San Jose, CA

  • This is an exciting opportunity to join a world class team working under veteran leadership on a game changing class 3 drug delivery combination medical device. This opportunity requires unique combination of experience with developing global regulatory strategy and submissions for combination product development plus experience in multiple phases of development in various therapeutic areas, plus experience with biologics. If you have the right experience, this is exciting and potentially high outcome opportunity that will not disappoint.
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a scientific discipline.
  • 10-15 years’ experience in Regulatory Affairs in biotechnology & pharmaceutical industry.
  • Thorough knowledge of the drug, device and combination product development process with demonstrated experience in developing global regulatory strategy and submissions.
  • Experience in multiple phases of development in various therapeutic areas is desirable. 
  • Experience with biologics is a must.
  • Excellent organizational, writing, communication and time management skills needed to manage multiple ongoing projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to communicate and interact effectively across departments and on project team(s).
  • Results driven and team-orientated, with the ability to influence outcomes.  

Bioanalytical Lab Research Scientist – San Jose, CA

This is an exciting opportunity for a bioanalytical scientist to join world class team to work on drug-device projects, with the potential to dramatically change patient outcomes. Position, salary, and benefits are commensurate with experience, with possibility of option grants!!

Required: Background in medical device or pharma testing & regulatory development. Experience in preclinical and clinical research is a must. The candidate must have technical training in biochemistry and/or pharmaceutical sciences with experience using lyophilization, Karl Fischer titration, and HPLC. Experience with biochemical analysis such as spectrophotometric and fluorescence immunoassays, and LC-MS is a plus. Also required, degree in biochem or pharma sciences w. 2+ years experience, extensive exp in various analytical techniques & bioanalytical assays.

Responsibilities: Lead projects on biologic formulation, drug product process development; Executes experiments based on protocols and implement; Develop & maintain documentation,  test methods, study protocols, SOPs, worksheets, forms, and reports; Design and manage data from complex experiments including preliminary statistical analysis; literature searches; Maintain lab & assay operations notebook, equipment, supplies, computer files; Support regulatory efforts.

Bioanalytical Lab Scientist – San Jose, CA

There is an exciting opportunity for a bioanalytical scientist to join a team working on drug-device combinations projects w/ potential to change patient outcomes. Attractive benefits package with competitive salary is offered and option grants makes this exciting opportunity. Perform literature search, routine data management, tabulate & graph results, support regulatory efforts & manage lab supplies, safety, equipment. 

Responsibilities: Perform bioanalytical assays for the quantification of the analytes in in-vitro, preclinical and clinical samples; Participate in the development of in vitro/in vivo models by performing a variety of microplate assays independently with minimal supervision; Configure, program and troubleshoot laboratory automated platforms; Optimize existing automated processes to improve efficiency, throughput, robustness and quality. Perform literature search, routine data management, tabulate & graph results, support regulatory efforts & manage lab supplies, safety, equipment.

Required: Background in medical device or pharma & exp in preclinical and clinical research is a must. Also required, background in biochemical analysis such as spectrophotometric, fluorescence immuno assays, HPLC, CE, LC-MS. exp w/ microplate assays is must and experience with Luminex MapX technology is a plus. BS + 3 yrs work exp or MS + 1 yr exp and exp in writing reports & SOPs, knowledge of statistical software like Excel, GraphPad, Prism & Softmax Pro and hands-on exp in automation & liquid handling in a bioanalytical lab is required.

Senior scientist role requires 5+ years work experience.

Pre-clinical Research Associate – San Jose, CA

This is an exciting opportunity to work with a world class team on a game changing technology. It requires specific in vivo research experience in animal biology, preferably with large (non-rodent) animal models and experience in one or more therapeutic areas: Gastrointestinal (GI), Central Nervous System (CNS), Cardiovascular (CV) and metabolic diseases.

Senior Scientist/ Dir (commensurate w exp)
S. San Francisco, CA

Senior Scientist/ Director/ VP (commensurate with experience)

An early stage biotechnology startup with patented technology for engineering mammalian cells to vastly increase productivity for therapeutic proteins & disrupt biologics manufacturing, has two exciting openings. (The company has backing from J&J).

Job Functions: The work will involve vector design & preparation, transfection, cell culture, cloning & screening, flow cytometry & other related molecular and cellular biology techniques. Collaboration with co-workers &  pharmaceutical company customers is essential for this position.

Requirements: Candidate is required to have Ph.D. plus multiple years of experience with cell line creation, mammalian cell culture expertise, know regulatory landscape related to creating & testing cells for GMP manufacturing; exp. with molecular biology techniques for creating vectors & transfecting cells: exp with protein assays, with a goal to further develop the technology toward full commercialization. Experience with flow cytometry, cell banking, transposase transfection methods a huge plus.

Manufacturing Engineer – San Jose, CA

There are two immediate opportunities for Manufacturing Engineer in N and S San Jose, CA. Both are in well funded startups by veteran leaders with a world class team of people. One is in a combination medical device and the other is in a cardio-vascular company.

Senior & Junior Mechanical Engineers – San Jose, CA

A bay area company with world class team, has an exciting opening for Senior & Junior Mechanical Engineers to design, develop & validate semi or fully automated equipment used for scale-up of high volume, disposable devices.

Responsibilities: Develop concepts & ideas for improving tooling, create new tooling, evaluate current manufacturing processes & workflows, take ownership of design, create User Requirements Specs, conduct concept reviews, show proof of concept through prototyping, support test data, coordinate with stakeholders for V&V, launch & documentation, created 3D models, engineering drawings & bills of materials, participate in design FMEA, plan to mitigate risks, and work with outside vendors, machine shops, contract manufacturers.
Requirements: BS in ME plus 3 to 13 years of medical device industry experience with complex mechanical/ electromechanical design, extensive experience with precision mechanisms pneumatics, servo systems, tooling/ fixtures, motors, belts/ pulleys, gears, actuators, sensors and experience creating engineering drawings, BOMs, products specs is required. Also required knowledge of material properties, heat treatment & surface finish, understanding of DFM & lean manufacturing, and track record with medical device manufacturing methods, RDA reqgulations, ISO, cGMP & QMS standards is required. MS in ME, experience with plastic injection molding, knowledge of DOE, SPC, JMP/ Minitab, experience with metal stamping, laser cutting, chemical etching, familiarity with sterilization process & aseptic environment and PLC programming would be a big plus.

Mechanical Engineer R&D – San Jose, CA

Senior Mechanical Engineer is responsible for evaluating and improving the current drug delivery system by testing and optimizing components or sub-assemblies as needed. He/she will work with quality & regulatory to develop complete documentation for the device.

Responsibilities: Evaluate current design & identify opportunities for improvement, show proof of concept through prototyping and supporting test data, document internal design control SOPs, lead V&V activities, create 3D models, engineering drawings & bill of materials, create work instructions & manufacturing SOP’s, work with quality, and outside vendors, machine shops, contract manufacturers and comply with company’s policies & guidelines regarding quality & regulatory.

Qualifications: BS in ME + 5 years hands’on experience in medical device design environment, experience with creating engineering drawings, BOMs, product specs, experience with implementing product into manufacturing, knowledge of FDA regulations & ISO, cGMP, QMS standards, understanding of DFM & lean manufacturing, experience with machine shop tools & SolidWorks. Master’s degree in ME or BME and/or experience with plastic injection molding, a huge plus.

Senior Catheter Design Engineer – S. San Jose, CA

There is an immediate opportunity for a Senior Catheter Design Engineer with 15 to 20 years experience in catheter design engineering in a stealth mode company that is less than 2 years away from getting its first two devices 510 K approved and launched. The company is led by a visionary leader and has highly experienced engineering and management team.  This a huge opportunity to participate at grounds level in what is a truly exciting and game changing technology that is poised to change the quality of care of cardiac patients, with a potential to save millions of healthcare dollars, on regular basis. Experience is IVUS engineering a huge plus.

Manufacturing/ Test/ Quality Engineer – S. San Jose, CA

A stealth mode cardiovascular company with experienced engineering team, led by a serial entrepreneur, has an immediate opening for  Manufaturing/ Test/ Quality Engineer. This requires 10 plus years experience in the filed of catheter engineering.

Catheter Design Mechanical Engineer – S. San Jose, CA

A stealth mode cardiovascular company, led by a serial entrepreneur with prior experience in building a company, has an immediate opening for  Catheter Design Mechanical Engineer. The position requires 5 to 10 years of experience in catheter engineering, a can do, problem solving attitude, excellent conflict resolution skills and an ability to handle uncertainty. 

Program/ Project Manager – S. San Jose, CA

A stealth mode cardiovascular company with world class engineering team, led by a veteran leader with prior experience in building a company, has an opening for  Program Manger with experience of working in catheter engineering industry and a demonstrated history of managing projects all the way from conceptualization, team building, cost estimation, implementation, regulatory 510 (K) approval, and production support to launch. Experience in catheter engineering and leading 510K approval program is absolutely essential.

Supply Chain Management/ Strategy Leader – S. San Jose, CA

A stealth mode startup with exciting technology with potential to alter the quality of care of cardiac patients is looking for Supply chain management/ strategy leader. This position requires extensive experience across the end to end supply chain spectrum in Class 3 medical device industry. It requires proven track record of significant contributions to cost reduction and productivity improvement and experience in cross-functional leadership.

Senior Technician/ Manufacturing Engineer – S. San Jose, CA

A stealth mode cardiovascular company, led by a serial entrepreneur with prior experience in building a company, has an opening for Senior Technician/ Manufacturing Engineer with 4 plus years experience in catheter engineering. 

NGS Research Scientist – Foster City, CA

Job Functions: To work on NGS assays for RNA seq, single cell and immune profiling projects & work collaboratively to develop new assays based on requests from the commercial team. Design & execute on NGS assays including 10X single cell & TCR/BCR repertoire profiling; Perform proof-of-concept experiments to enable development of new NGS applications for epigenetic and immunotherapy solutions; Collaborate w bioinformatics scientists to assist in data interpretation for single cell & TCR projects & generate presentations & reports for commercial projects; Generate data for application notes for marketing & BD needs.

Qualifications: Masters in Genetics, Immunology, Cancer Biology, Molecular Biology or related field; 2+ yrs NGS experience. Also, Hands-on experience in NGS techniques including sample extractions, RNA-seq, 10X, library prep & exp in low-input & single-cell NGS applications & exp in designing, executing, & troubleshooting for molecular & cell biology techniques a plus.

Mechanical Testing & Fixture Design  Engineer – Milpitas, CA

There is an immediate opening for mechanical testing and fixture design engineer. Good understanding of how to design and set up tests is required. Responsibilities include design unique tests, develop fixtures, report failtures, help improve manufacturing processes, support V&V testing, interface with manufacturing to implement new design updates into pilot manufacturing line and analyze data. BS in ME, fluency in SolidWorks, and 3-5 years of medical device industry experience is required.

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JOBS: April, 2019


Job search. Loupe with jobs classified ad newspapers isolated on white. 3d illustrationPlease see some of my current opportunities below. All opportunities are for local candidates with valid work visa and require deep industry experience.  If you have an interest then please send an email (resume as an attachment) at wd underscore darshana at hot mail dot com.

Director of Pilot Manufacturing – San Jose, CA

Innovative medical device company located in San Jose, CA has an immediate opening for Director of Pilot Manufacturing.  This position will report to VP of Manufacturing Operations. This low volume production line is crucial to the company’s several ongoing preclinical studies.

Duties and Responsibilities
Lead day to day operations including injection molding, aseptic processing, capsule assembly, supply chain and other related activities; Develop detailed production planning, resource allocation, equipment maintenance, operator training etc.; work closely with product development, pre-clinical & clinical groups and quality in order to ensure achievement of targets & develop manufacturing plans & detailed production schedules; Manage inventory of raw materials & injection molded components; Manage human resources in pilot manufacturing; Maintain a strong commitment to quality; Comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cGMP regulations, other regulatory requirements (ISO), Company policies, operating procedures, processes, and task assignments.

Requirements
Strong problem solving & analytical skills; Experience with use of statistical analysis & design of experiments for product optimization and validation activities; Experience with lean manufacturing, design for manufacturing, design for test & test implementation; Experience working with ERP systems & Broad GMP manufacturing background with Class III medical devices. Requires BS/MS in Mechanical, Electrical or Industrial Engineering and 15+ years’ experience managing & supervising manufacturing with a strong history of hands-on experience successfully transferring new products into manufacturing & Deep technical experience with manufacturing processes, design control and quality systems. Also required, strong problem solving and analytical skills; Experience with use of statistical analysis and design of experiments for product optimization & validation activities; Experience with lean manufacturing, design for manufacturing, design for test and test implementation; Experience working with ERP systems. Also essential is proven ability to coach & develop employees & develop effective cross functional relationships. This position requires interface throughout all levels & functions of the organization.

Director of Manufacturing Automation – San Jose, CA

This position requires a dynamic, energetic, self-driven, engineering leader with broad manufacturing engineering and automation experience & will report to VP of Manufacturing Operations. The Director of Manufacturing Automation will lead the development of fully automated manufacturing systems for all aspects of company’s disposable drug tablet manufacturing. This individual will be responsible for defining system requirements, developing proof of principle systems, developing timelines and managing budgets and providing direct oversight and management of automation suppliers as well as driving the implementation and validation of manufacturing lines. This individual will work closely with product development, manufacturing engineering and quality in order to ensure manufacturability, achievement of targets, and develop processes for optimum manufacturability.

Responsibilities: Define functional & detailed requirements & specifications for manu automation, including quality & regulatory requirements; Manage internal & external process automation programs, project schedules & budgets; Develop facility plans & specifications for manufacturing scale-up; Oversee installation & qualification of automated manu systems; Comply with USFDA cGMP regulations, (ISO), Company policies, operating procedures, processes & task assignments.

Requirements: Experience managing and leading complex cross functional projects involving, electrical, mechanical, quality aspects; Experience with mechatronics or automation engineering including machine, mechanism and fixture design; Strong problem solving and analytical skills; experience with use of statistical analysis & design of experiments for product optimization & validation activities; Experience with lean manufacturing, design for manufacturing, design for test & test implementation. This position requires interface throughout all levels and functions of the organization; requires a cooperative team-balanced perspective for appropriate output and task outcome.  BS/MS in Mechanical, Electrical or Industrial Engineering & 15+ years’ experience managing an engineering group responsible for medical device development and manufacturing engineering with a strong history of hands-on experience is required. Also required Deep expertise in manufacturing automation for large scale manufacturing

 

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Life Sciences Industry Outlook for 2018: Post BiotechShowcase & JPM


Image result for Biotech Showcase 2018, JPM18JPM 2018 and concurrent events just ended with what may be one of its biggest draws.  As many as 10,000 people from life science industry and its related sectors are likely to have descended upon the city, during last four days.  In addition to JPM event itself, everything health was under review and up for discussion at various conferences including at EBD Group & Demy Colten’s #BiotechShowcase #DigitalMedicine #BTS18 and #WuXiGlobalForum2018 . Networking and deal making continued late in the nights at various receptions held across the city. Receptions by legal firms like #WilsonSonsini #MoFoLLP #ReedSmithLLP attracted some of the biggest crowds.

IMG_20180110_170128791.jpgOverall the tone for 2018, seemed highly optimistic.  BiotechShowcase held a media roundup and echoes of optimism were heard from almost all panelists @barbara_ryan12 @TriangleInsight @CarolineYLChen @adamfeuerstein @statnews @SFBIZronleuty @BrittanyMeiling @endpts @juliet_preston @medcitynews @ldtimmerman .

Image result for biotech innovationThere is a general agreement that the pace of #innovation in biotech greatly accelerated in 2017 and is likely to continue. According to Luke Timmeerman, “sheer velocity of news in healthtech innovation is fascinating”. Transformative therapies across huge and diverse range of diseases are increasingly focusing on cures and going beyond the short term treatment focus. The surge of innovation has been led by focus on oncology although concern was also raised in one of the panels that we still continue to get stymied and realize how friggin smart the disease of cancer is and if we will truly crack the code on cancer in the immediate upcoming years. All signs are however, that next year we may see critical data from some clinical trials in immuno-oncology space that can cause market spikes.

Here are some areas of concern raised in some of the panels. In 2017, a slight dip was observed in the areas of orphan and rare diseases. Also there seemed to be a general consensus that we need smart policies that incentivize new anti microbial drugs and other treatments for infectious diseases. Due to increasing resistance of antibiotics, there is an ongoing and real fear for some of the infectious diseases to turn into pandemics. These are areas that bold entrepreneurs may focus on. Also medical devices continues to remain somewhat underfunded. Discussions around accelerating healthcare costs and drug pricing issues creeped over into many panels. Entrepreneurs with disruptive pricing innovation in product development as well as healthcare can easily have a tremendous leverage. It can’t be overstressed that finding effective pricing solutions holds key to continued and sustainable growth in healthcare sector.

Discussion in one of the panels focused for a few minutes around large investments in life sciences and if that indicated a healthtech bubble that may be due for a crash.  Indeed, some experts observed that pace of 2017 is unlikely to continue and there may well be a slight dip in 2018. But overall the consensus seemed to be, that a steep and deep pipeline of innovation in R&D is likely to prevent a crash, and the venture funding blizzard is likely to continue. Overall, the feeling among investors and healthcare experts was that among the industry, there is a strong focus on science and people are pursuing innovation with discipline that will ensure unprecedented mechanisms and novel medicines. All this activity is taking healthcare to a new level of cures and sustainability and stability from temporary treatment focus. Exciting indeed to be living in this era of amazing healthcare innovation.

 

 

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Sterilization Efforts for Healthcare Products


Jeff Sauter, Business Development Manager at Nutek, talked about sterilization efforts for healthcare products and medical devices, atwww.bio2devicegroup.org event.

Most commonly used forms of sterilization are EtO, Gamma and E-Beam with X-ray sterilization as an emerging ‘new’ technology.  Nutek is an E-Beam sterilization facility that is FDA and DEA registered and is ISO 13485 and ISO 11137 certified and is going through ISO 11135 certification for EtO, said Sauter.  While Nutek is known in the industry as a niche player and is sought out world-wide to solve complex sterilization issues, they also have the capability to sterilize large volumes of product.

Sauter discussed various sterilization modalities.  SmartEO Ethylene Oxide Sterilization or EtO is effective and cheap modality for R&D testing as a well as for high volume and low volume production.  It is used for terminal sterilization of devices.  With EtO, it is important that the packaging is breathable where it may be torturous route for microbes to get in but gas can still get in for sterilization.  Primary challenges are with residuals and significant environmental concerns have led to EU mandates to exhaust all other sterilization methods before resorting to EtO.

Gamma radiation method is effective and cheap and can also do high volume.  However, there are significant security issues surrounding gamma. In December 2013, in Mexico,hijackers opened the canisters being transported in a truck and disappeared unaccounted for, said Sauter.  If it falls into the hands of the terrorists, they could potentially make a dirty bomb.  Gamma also needs to be disposed of properly and it is buried permanently deep in the earth.  

E-Beam has some advantages over Gamma.  E-Beam is less harsh to the product as compared to Gamma, said Sauter.  In case of Gamma, the product resides in the Gamma chamber and is exposed to radioactive energy for several hours.  Whereas E-Beam, typically a high energy electron beam goes over the product in less than a minute.  E-Beam also offers more flexibility in processing of sensitive drugs or biologics.  E-Beam offers advantage of continuous temperature control, split dose processing, and intelligent tooling.  It also offers more scalability for processing differing volumes and turnaround times can be much faster, compared to Gamma. E-Beam is also environmentally friendly and poses no security risk.

The technology in X-ray has only recently caught up to make it a practical modality, in sterilization, said Sauter.  X-ray is also emerging as a more obvious choice over Gamma.  X-ray delivers doses rapidly, allows for greater temperature control, allows for maintaining tight dose range, can penetrate all types of product packaging including foils, and causes no damage to sterile seals on product packaging.  Nutek is moving a new facility in Fremont, which will include state of the art X-ray sterilization modality.  

All modalities have their place, their advantages and limitations, said Sauter.  If any product contains Teflon or electronic components then EtO is the more likely methodology to go with.  It is very important to consider sterilization modality earlier in product development.  Sometimes a wrong modality is chosen and the result is good, viable products don’t see the light of the day, said Sauter.  Some of the important considerations in choice of a sterilization modality are: material compatibility and product functionality, product and packaging qualification, bioburden issues and dose selection, modified atmosphere packaging considerations, security and environmental risks, future sustainability, and cost considerations.

The session was followed by Q&A.

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Innovative Deal Structures in Medtech Financing (2015 WSGR Med Device Conference)


WSGR 2015 Medical Device conference, focused on understanding the challenges facing the medical device industry, and highlighting the emerging strategies to navigate the new and complex world of medtech. Eminent team of panelists discussed “innovative deal structures” at WSGR medtech conference, in San Francisco.  The panel was moderated by Scott Murano, Partner at WSGR and panelists included Justin Klein with New Enterprise Associates, Evan Norton, Divisional VP at Venture Investments, Abbott Ventures and Mir Imran, Chairman and CEO at InCube Labs.  The panel shared insights from their recent experiences with corporate partnering transactions.

Justin Klein at NEA, with $3.1B fund, focuses on medical device, healthcare technology and biopharmaceutical investments.  Recently NEA funded three medical device companies, all of them in Atrial Fibrillation space.  “Scarcity of assets in AFib category positioned AFib as a very attractive category”, said Klein.  NEA was a strategic investor alongside others, including Abbott Ventures, in its more recent financing of Sunnyvale based VytronUS, with a proprietary cardiac imaging and ablation system to treat atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias.  Although NEA funds companies from early stage, VytronUS is couple of years away from commercialization, said Klein.  NEA looks for interesting opportunities to syndicate with a broader variety of partners.

Evan Norton said his job at Abbott Ventures is to go out and find new business that Abbott can enter into.  Abbott Ventures focuses on emerging medical technology companies that have the potential to provide long term strategic growth options for Abbott.  Mostly AVI looks for early stage opportunities and makes it possible for early stage companies to gain critical access to capital, in return for bigger equity stake.  “Our job is to identify the next Spinal Modulation earlier”, said Norton, referring to Mir Imran’s company that was recently acquired by St. Jude.  AVI does not move to non-buying term sheet phase earlier, in the process.   “About a 4th of the capital in our syndicates, comes from China”, said Norton.

Among corporate venture funds, Abbott Ventures tends to be highly creative in putting together early stage deals.  AVI focuses on medical devices, drug/ device combinations, diagnostics and unique drug delivery technologies.  An absolute key aspect of putting together a deal is flexibility on both sides, said Norton.

Mir Imran, Chairman and CEO at InCube Labs, also runs VC fund at InCube Ventures, along with an online crowd funding platform at Venture Health.  Currently, there are about 9 companies that are incubated at InCube Labs.  The Spinal Modulation deal happened with SJM “because SJM was creative in putting together a deal they could live with and we could live with”, said Imran.  Most recent buzz has been around Imran’s company, Rani Therapeutics, which has developed a technology to convert injectable biologics (such as insulin and Humira) into pills, allowing millions to escape the needle prick.

“Rani has a powerful platform and many large pharma companies are talking with us to convert their injectable drugs into pills”, said Imran.  According to recent announcement, Novartis has joined previous investors Google Ventures, InCube Ventures and Venture Health, in a Series C round of more than $25M and similar deals are in the works with other investors.  The deal will allow Rani to evaluate Novartis molecules on the new platform, with equity investment and all expenses for testing of the molecules to be paid by Novartis, said Imran.  Imran avoided entering into license negotiations, at this stage.   “If the technology delivers expected results with Novartis molecules, then we can sit down and put a licensing deal at a later time”, said Imran.   

How has Imran managed to create mutually beneficial conditions for deal negotiations, with large pharma?  “From small company perspective, I don’t like to give away rights too early”, said Imran.  Most of Imran’s companies come out of R&D at InCube Labs.  “We keep our burn rate low and keep a relentless focus on execution”, said Imran.  

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Aligning value proposition: From Preclinical to Market for Medical Devices


Tim Pelura, CEO, Surpass Preclinical CRO talked on how medical device companies can align their strategy, from preclinical to market, with a focus on the value proposition, at www.bio2devicegroup.org event.

We are operating under a new reality now where power has shifted to the payers and the providers, said Pelura.  Medical device companies are evaluated based on safety and procedural efficacy as well as cost and value.  Increasingly heightened regulatory scrutiny and tightening FDA regulations have led to increase in audits (which were up 40% in the last year) and warning letters are (which were up 24% over the last 2 years).  Due to regulatory and reimbursement challenges, medical device companies are focusing their R&D efforts on improving already approved devices, rather than developing innovative new products.  Meanwhile startups are finding the landscape challenging due to funding challenges and increasing costs of bringing new products to market.

Healthcare Infostep

Healthcare Infostep (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inkeeping with the reality of pressures on payers that are transmitted down, new healthcare delivery models are emerging, and therefore, patient pathways are being modified to obtain to obtain better outcomes, with less cost.  Medical device companies will need to work with new business models, that solve significant problems and reduce overall costs.  Companies seeking growth will need to expand their offerings to target underserved populations and lower socioeconomic classes.

In essence, it is about the value proposition offered by the new product or service, “what benefit you provide for who and how you do it uniquely well”, said Pelura.  He advised, these “must-haves” in a business pitch, “describe your target buyer, the problem you are seeking to solve, and why you do it better than the alternative”.

Pelura walked the audience through the process of arriving at the value proposition.  First, companies must define the problem they are seeking to solve and identify correctly the need to solve the problem.  Next, they should try to go after obvious problems, rather than aspirational or “good to solve” problems.  And finally, they should try to address acute or critical problems.

In defining a solution, they should try to generate many ideas and then measure the viability of customer adoption of each idea using gain/pain ratio; what the customer stands to gain versus the cost of adoption of the new solution.  The best solutions are those that offer game-changing benefits, with minimal modifications to the existing process or environments, said Pelura.  Go for “Disruptive Innovations, that are Non-Disruptive to Adopt”, advised Pelura.   Medical device companies must visualize the entire process or patient pathway to ensure that the new solution would cause minimal disruptions, in the whole process.

While new technologies often emerge with a focus on engineering and progress to bench testing and then plan preclinical, and clinical strategies and only then consider navigating regulatory, market, and reimbursement challenges; in actuality, they should invert the process.  They should begin with considering reimbursement challenges, analyze the competitive landscape, study the market opportunity, give thoughtful consideration to the regulatory challenges, then consider clinical and preclinical strategy, before embarking on prototype and bench testing.  Because if the value proposition is wrong then a company can end up with a product that no one wants or needs, resulting in considerable waste of precious innovation dollars and time, said Pelura.

Speaking of Surpass, Pelura shared that preclinical Contract Research Organization, Surpass is doing things differently.  While having deep expertise as a preclinical CRO in helping medical device companies with their preclinical in vivo and human cadaveric studies, Surpass also seeks to impact the system, by probing and assisting their clients with questions that go to the value proposition.  Surpass assists the clients in designing the most translatable preclinical study by understanding issues of clinical end points, product’s desired features and characteristics, all the while keeping in mind who would be operating the device, studies and activities that might need to be completed to demonstrate the products, performance, safety, and efficacy, as well as data that would be required to drive reimbursement and more.  This novel process ensures that any preclinical testing performed is aligned to the new product’s value proposition, hence helping save valuable healthcare innovation dollars.  

The session was followed by Q&A.

 

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