medtechforum

Rui Sousa will be a speaker at the MedTech Forum on 15/5. Find more about the programme here ! Your start-up could benefit from a free advice session at the MedTech Forum I meet a lot of entrepreneurs in the medical technology sector and I know that they bring a lot to the table: they are brimming with ideas, innovation and a burning desire to improve people’s lives. They often have engineering, academic, surgical or medical backgrounds and a deep understanding of their field. However, many find it challenging to translate their ideas into marketable products. This should not surprise us. The skillset required to develop an innovative medtech solution is immense, as is the combination of talents and knowhow needed to launch a successful business venture. Those who possess all the required knowledge and skill to be the next medtech star are few and far between. This is reflected in the numbers of researchers and entrepreneurs who struggle to translate their work into commercial success. The failure rate in Europe is staggering. Start-ups must have a product that meets a clear market need. But they must also know how to raise finance, how to protect their intellectual property, how to make their product or solution scalable, and how to present their work in a way that inspires support. It’s a tall order. I’m impressed that so many entrepreneurs are brave enough to try to do it all, and saddened when some of them fall short of reaching their goals. One way to overcome some of these challenges is to engage with professional consultants and experts with various specialities: law, business development, market access, venture capital and so on. You don’t need me to tell you that this kind of expertise is expensive. For a start-up with limited funds, splashing...
Roman Lysecky is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona. He is a speaker at the MedTech Forum 2018 and his session include: Becoming Hackproof in MedTech on Thursday 25th of January. For more information go to the MTF website and follow #MTF2018 on Twitter. ********************************* Security must become the number one concern when developing connected medical devices. Millions of connected devices have already been produced and many of these are implantable. What would happen if these products were compromised by malware? Implantable cardiac devices, such as insulin pumps and other products with wireless connectivity and remote monitoring features, are delivering considerable benefits to patients and health systems. However, without the right protection, this comes with significant risks that hackers might seek to exploit vulnerable devices . The nightmare scenario would be a security breach that could cause cardiac arrest or be used to extract ransom from individuals or institutions. Failure to protect vulnerable patients from cyberattacks could undermine the lifesaving promise of these technologies, potentially breaking the Hippocratic Oath: First Do No Harm. Producing software that is entirely and provably secure is prohibitively costly, time-consuming, and often infeasible. We need resilient systems that automatically detect any security issues and have a built-in way to mitigate any threat this may pose. Threat detection At my lab at the University of Arizona, we believe security should be a fundamental part of the device itself, not an afterthought or a nice-to-have feature. Our team has developed a prototype pacemaker device that detects runtime anomalies – tiny differences in the order or time it takes for the device to perform computational tasks. For example, if it takes 20 milliseconds instead of three milliseconds to send data to the patient’s digital cardiac log, something may be wrong. Currently,...
Nadim Yared is President and Chief Executive Officer of CVRx and Chairman of the AdvaMed’s Board of Directors, our sister organisation in the United States. He is a speaker at the MedTech Forum 2018 and his sessions include: CEO #NOFILTER and The MedTech Europe Code as a Business Enabler, both on Thursday 25th of January. For more information go to the MTF website and follow #MTF2018 on Twitter. *************************************** The toss of a dice. An incoming tornado. The decline of investment in medtech. Each of these events could be considered a butterfly effect – the notion that small causes can have broad effects. The medical device industry is undergoing tremendous tectonic shifts, where advances in technology are crossing new boundaries in the medical device space and widening horizons for patients. Internally, our industry has been evolving in response to these advancements. R&D teams have become more digital, more connected, more in-tune with the trends of Silicon Valley. Internet companies are empowering patients with information that enables them to control their destiny more than ever before. Patient advocacy groups are getting stronger and more influential. With this in mind, you might assume that our industry is growing healthy and that our innovation ecosystem is vibrant. Well, maybe. The number of U.S. patents in our field is at an all-time high. However, the translation of that innovation into products that are actually accessible to patients is bottlenecked. And the canaries in the mine here are the small medtech companies. I have seen the number of new medical device companies being formed fall over the past decade. In fact, ten years ago there were four times as many new companies as there were last year. While the total funds allocated by venture firms have been reduced by half, the average investment required by...
eHealth technologies are pulling together personal information from diverse sources to ensure a more personalised, informed healthcare service – it’s what patients expect Precision medicine is the use of all available information about a patient to produce the most informed care plan possible. This is often associated with using genetic or other “-omics” information to help doctors select which medicine to prescribe for their patient. For example, testing a cancer patient for specific biomarkers can tell doctors which chemotherapy will work best. But it’s much bigger than that. If you look at what contributes to premature death, around 30% is thought to be genetic. The rest is a combination of our environment, diet, exercise, work, mental health, social interactions and other exogenous factors. So why limit ourselves to genetic data alone? As healthcare is now in the information era, the challenge is to pull together the vast quantity of data that exists and aggregate it in a way that allows health services to be tailored to each patient. There is already a wealth of data and this is expected to increase 50-fold in the next eight years. There is no way any physician can cope with this volume of information. That’s why software companies are playing an increasing role in healthcare. Information overload is essentially an IT challenge: how do we access and surface these data in a way that makes them accessible and actionable? How do we acquire and aggregate data, then reason against it to help manage populations and drive insights? Healthcare is unique but software experts have already overcome huge challenges in areas such as e-commerce and financial services to deliver a more tailored and user-friendly experience while safeguarding data privacy. In fact, the public is so used to this kind of customised intelligence that some patients...
Professor Kevin Warwick is pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence and cyborg technologies How can artificial intelligence (AI ) improve healthcare? AI can be used to learn what is going on in different parts of the body and to predict problems. This gives us the power to prevent problems before they arise or to counteract malfunctions which are detected by sensors. Could you give us an example that will be part of the near future? One immediate application is in the use of deep brain stimulation or DBS. This technology is already used in people with Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy or depression to stimulate the nervous system with electrical pulses in order to alleviate symptoms. AI allows us to take it a step further by predicting when stimulation is needed. This means we could apply DBS before the patient experiences symptoms. What areas of future research are most exciting? An interesting area is the use of cultured neural networks. Typically, we use neurons (brain cells) taken from rat embryos and connect them to a robot. Sensors from the robot stimulate the culture and we have observed different pathways in the cell culture changing the direction of the robot. How do you do this? Firstly, we separate the brain cells using enzymes and them lay them out on a multi-electrode array (essentially a small dish). Very quickly the neurons start connecting with each other. We have to feed the brain cells using minerals and nutrients. The growing brain, consisting of approx. 150,000 cells has to be kept in an incubator at a controlled temperature of 37 degrees C. After about 10 days the brain has lots of connections so we give it a body. The brain is connected to its body, bi-directionally, via a Bluetooth link. Sensory signals from the robot body...
For the first time in history, a major industrial change is taking place in parallel with a global push towards a shared vision of the future. The 4th industrial revolution can be harnessed to address global development goals How can Europe make the most of the technology changes that are afoot? I would share some of the views of Professor Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum: these are, potentially, the best and worst of times. We have lots of technology but we are not having the conversations with the public about how innovations might affect our lives. There is not enough attention to the potential risks nor to the many positives that technologies can bring. Past industrial revolutions spurred growth but had environmental and other downsides. How can this revolution be better managed? One of the reasons we are lucky to be embarking on this work now is that we know what we want the 4 th industrial revolution to be for . Last year, 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed. The SDGs ask every country in the world to play their part to reduce poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This is an unprecedented global consensus for what we want our future to look like. The first thing to do when someone says they have a new industrial or technological revolution for you is to ask them to explain how it will help the SDGs. Does this require a new way for countries and companies to think about their own priorities? Yes, responsible research is a requirement now and we’re seeing it from top companies like Dow, which has mapped their innovative activities against the SDGs. Not everyone is at the same level but growing numbers of corporate actors are producing very clear maps...