By Stephen Levin
Published in the March 30, 2015 Issue (Vol. 2, No. 6)
Within the medical device industry, the cardiovascular market has traditionally been both the largest and the most innovative in terms of new product development. Much of that growth, over the last generation, has occurred in interventional cardiology, which has seen the most rapid expansion of any medtech market, driven by a specialty whose clinicians are the most voracious adopters of new technology. Interventional cardiology has seen the growth of not just one, but a series of blockbuster, multibillion-dollar product segments – relative rarities in medtech, especially when compared with biopharmaceuticals – beginning with bare-metal stents (BMS), followed by drug-eluting stents (DES), and now the emergence of transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) devices.
But things may be changing. Certainly, cardiovascular segments have not been immune to the ups and downs that affect all product markets; cardiac surgery, most notably, was impacted by the move to interventional procedures to the point where the sector’s demise has been predicted repeatedly, and cardiac rhythm management (CRM) devices have seen periods of flat to slow growth resulting from a variety of challenges, including product failures and reimbursement hurdles.
However, clinical and industry experts – including a panel at the 2014 Bohemian Medical Device Summit, held December 10-12 in Prague – remain bullish on the sector’s future prospects. The panel featured Todd Brinton, MD, an interventional cardiologist and Fellowship Director of the Biodesign program at Stanford University and entrepreneur (co-founder of Shockwave Medical Inc. and BioParadox Inc.); Michel Darnaud, president of the cardiac surgery division of Sorin SpA; and Martin T. Rothman, MD, an interventional cardiologist and VP of medical affairs for Medtronic Inc.’s vascular division.