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15th December 2023

Overcoming the top 3 startup challenges in MedTech

“Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower Military officer, statesman and United States president. 

Even the most meticulously crafted plans can crumble. Startups can collapse, partnerships can dissolve. Exemplified by Medtronic’s recent shift in strategy regarding the acquisition of EOFlow, this is the unvarnished truth in any industry striving to make a mark, and healthcare and MedTech are no exceptions.

Far from signalling an imminent downfall, Medtronic’s recent string of victories underscores their resilience and unwavering dedication to innovation. These instances are but powerful calls to action that inspire entrepreneurs to persevere and foster innovation within the sector.

To this end, Med-Tech World continues to stand firm in its mission to ignite inspiration and advocate for innovation. In a panel discussion held last October, experts shared invaluable insights beneficial for both seasoned entrepreneurs and newcomers in the MedTech space.

The top 3 pitfalls stunting startup growth

Moderated by Dr. Saeed Sharif, Consultant in AI and Innovative Medical Technology, also an Associate Professor and Leader of the Intelligent Technologies Research Group, the panel featured distinguished voices, each bringing a unique perspective to the discussion. 

Among them were Jacqueline Van Druten, Clinical & Regulatory Affairs Director at CLIN-r+; Michael Branagan-Harris, Founder and CEO at Device Access UK Ltd; and Claudia Holy, Founder & Managing Director at Podymos Ltd.

Dr. Sharif, steering the discussion, underlined the inherent challenges in MedTech innovation, emphasising the need for foresight and strategic planning.

Lack of early alignment

Jacqueline Van Druten underscored the significance of early alignment with clinical needs and regulatory considerations. 

According to her, “The top thing that we are seeing is there’s not an early-on alignment with the clinical needs. From the clinical needs, we need granularity. I need to know what your safety and performance data will look like to be able to show that you meet that clinical need.”

This lack of alignment, so-described by Van Druten, results in complications when navigating different regulatory landscapes and submitting applications for clearance. 

To address this challenge, she recommended the utilisation of a Clinical Development Plan (CDP) as a roadmap from concept to regulatory approval, emphasising the importance of alignment from the outset.

Inadequate health economic modelling

Michael Branagan-Harris highlighted the critical role of health economic modelling in the design phase of medical technologies. 

He stated, “Every day matters in health economics. You’re talking about lives, and you’re talking about investors’ money.” The consequences of inadequate health economic modelling, as highlighted by Branagan-Harris, include difficulties in convincing payers and the failure to effectively showcase long-term cost benefits.

To tackle this issue, he proposed incorporating health economic modelling early in the design phase and understanding value drivers. This proactive approach, according to Branagan-Harris, is essential for demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of a technology and ensuring success in the long run.

Insufficient marketing involvement

Claudia Holy stressed the importance of involving marketing early in the process for medical devices. 

According to her, “We see too many companies who come to market, and they don’t have the really strong claims that are going to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.” 

The consequence of insufficient marketing involvement, as outlined by Holy, is a lack of impactful claims, leading to weakened differentiation and market impact.

To overcome this challenge, Holy recommended early marketing involvement to build strong claims and simplify messaging. Her advice focuses on ensuring startups enter the market with compelling differentiators and clear communication, setting the stage for a robust market presence.

Embark on a global exploration of MedTech innovation in 2024

For more highlights on startups, entrepreneurship, and key insights from industry leaders, join Med-Tech World on the upcoming roadshow series! The journey kicks off with a captivating event in Dubai on February 26th, offering a platform for dynamic content, compelling startup pitches, and engaging discussions with leading investors.