Last week, I had the pleasure of attending MedFIT – in Strasbourg, France - which aims to foster innovation in medical technology. And right now, the need for collaboration to drive innovation has never been higher.
Wherever breakthrough ideas are, we want to help turn them into market realities. This is one of the reasons Johnson & Johnson Innovation sponsored MedFIT this year. The event brings together more than 600 attendees from start-ups, big corporates, academia and investors for two days of panel discussions, one-to-one meetings, keynote speeches, and Start-up Slams.
Start-up Slams are essentially pitching competitions which allow entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their ideas and technology to a panel of industry experts. At MedFIT we had seventeen companies – addressing a wide range of health challenges – who pitched throughout the conference to a jury of health technology investors and specialists, including myself. One of the things that struck me was the depth and breadth of innovation across Europe and beyond. From companies who have developed a virtual reality platform for medical hypnosis for pain management, to those seeking to minimise the invasiveness of polycystic ovary syndrome treatment, there are some fantastic entrepreneurs out there, with the grit and determination to turn their ideas into practical ways to transform human health globally.
For me, what’s particularly interesting is envisaging how these technologies can be strung together, and used across the whole continuum of care. For example, apps and wearables that can be used to prepare patients for surgery, and then guide them through post-operative rehabilitation, while robotics can help ensure best practice within the operating room. And it’s through this connected ecosystem of digital solutions that we can provide better patient outcomes, more efficient practice and even reduced costs.
Collaboration is vital when it comes to building this connected ecosystem. Following on from my experiences at the conference, I have four specific pieces of advice for start-ups looking to collaborate with partners such as Johnson & Johnson Innovation.
- Think about where your solution fits on the patient journey. While every stage is important, with ageing populations, and the rising costs of healthcare, earlier stage interventions could have a profound impact when it comes to improving patient outcomes and lowering costs.
- Get in touch sooner rather than later. Market access in the medical devices space is becoming a real minefield, and the experience that larger companies and partners bring to the table can help navigate any complications. Even if it’s not the right time to partner with you right now, they should be able to give you practical advice on how to move your idea forward.
- Focus on the value that your solution brings. Having this value distilled means that you and your team will be able to articulate it during any conversations with potential partners or investors.
- Make use of data insights. Knowing the value of your solution is one thing, but having data insights to back that value up makes it easier to bring other parties on board, and convince them to believe in your solution. But data isn’t just important for potential partners, continuing to gather this real-world evidence will also prove critical when it comes to conversations with regulatory bodies.
It’s an exciting time to be in medtech, and innovation in medical devices carries a huge potential to really drive better procedures and outcomes for patients and healthcare professionals. Working in partnership means that great ideas can be progressed much more quickly, and help pave the way to a healthier future worldwide.