• DNA Cancer Test Gets Backing from Amazon, Microsoft Founders

    The biotech giant launches a new company, known as Grail, to develop blood tests that can detect cancer before symptoms ever arise. Kristopher SturgisA small number of companies are working to disrupt the blood testing industry. Image from Wikipedia.  Illumina, one of the largest DNA sequencing companies, has announced the formation of a startup known as Grail, which plans to develop blood tests that can potentially detect many cancers for the cost of $1000 or less. The company hopes to...
  • Apple Launches New Hiring Spree for Biomedical Engineers

    Echoing similar reports from last year, the Cupertino, CA–based tech giant is hiring biomedical R&D engineers and other medical experts to work in its health technology division. Brian BuntzShown above is an unofficial rendering of the Apple Watch 2.Here we go again. Apple is rumored to be working on another big health-related project, based on a recent uptick in hirings of biomedical engineers. Apple has posted at least four job postings for its health technology unit. One of those...
  • 5. FDA Will Likely Face Increased Scrutiny in 2016

    FDA has always been between a rock and a hard place with its mission. The time may be at hand for a rethink.Chris Newmarker and Brian Buntz    While the medical device professionals appeared in 2015 to overall be more satisfied with FDA and its recent uptick in performance, many patient advocates and politicians are alleging that the agency is too lax in clearing and approving products.CDRH wants to please both patients and the industry, and CDRH head Jeffrey Shuren has stressed...
  • 4. Mobile Health Hits Its Stride

    As Winston Churchill said: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."Chris Newmarker    After years of promise that a mobile health revolution was around the corner, the movement may actually be gaining some traction, experts say. This year, expect to see more groundbreaking mobile-health product introductions than last year.In fact, this year, it is starting to seem bizarre that we even differentiated so-...
  • 1. A Huge Question Around Suspended Device Tax

    The medtech industry may be celebrating Congress’ two-year suspension of the medical device tax. How big a difference the suspension really makes is another matter entirely. Chris Newmarker    A major question hangs over the medical device industry in 2016: Will Congress’ two-year suspension of the United States’ 2.3% medical device excise tax actually spur more R&D, not to mention jobs? After all, one of the biggest complaints about the tax is that it would siphon away money...
  • 2. Medical Device Company Merger Frenzy Could Continue

    The same factors that sparked huge deals in 2015 remain, experts say.Chris Newmarker    Last year saw huge consolidation at multiple levels in the medical device industry. Medtronic acquired Covidien for about $50 billion, Zimmer and Biomet became Zimmer Biomet through a $14 billion deal, and BD bought CareFusion for $12 billion. Major mergers took place on the supplier level, too, such as Greatbatch’s $1.73 billion acquisition of Lake Region Medical.As we enter 2016, the...
  • 3. High Tech Gets Even More Involved in Medtech

    Google, Apple, IBM, Samsung, and even Amazon are increasingly involved in medtech. This could be the year their relationship with traditional medical device companies becomes clearer.Chris Newmarker    Consumer tech companies have made important inroads into medtech, including partnerships with major device makers. (Check out some of the major examples from 2015.)Medtronic, for example, is working with Samsung to develop diabetes-management apps. Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson...
  • 5 Medtech Business Predictions: Will 2016 Be Like Last Year?

    2015 was the year medtech consolidated. Now, with less competition than the industry has had in recent memory, the medical device industry has been given a considerable cash influx in the form of a 2-year medical device tax repeal in the U.S. Will 2016 be characterized by seismic shifts? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean that everything will be the same...Qmed Staff  “Time may change me. But I can't trace time,” the late, great David Bowie sang in “Changes.” That sentiment seems...
  • Why Healthcare Is Stuck in the 19th Century and What to Do About It

    Many of medicine’s traditions date back to not just the prior century but the early 1800s, says prominent digital health investor Vinod Khosla. It’s time for a reboot.Brian BuntzIndu Subaiya, co-founder and CEO of Health 2.0, asks Vinod Khosla to muse on potential solutions to healthcare's inefficiencies. When you go to the doctor, the first thing that happens after your name is called is that you have your weight, blood pressure, and pulse measured. “Most of the things we measure in routine...
  • What Medtech Firms Can Learn from Theranos' Regulatory Foibles

    A series of scathing articles from WSJ painted a picture of Theranos as having serious quality problems. A regulatory expert, however, says that many of the problems outlined in the company’s Form 483s are all-too-common in the medical device industry.  Brian BuntzInstead of criticizing Theranos for its regulatory problems, medical device professionals should double check that they aren't making the same mistakes, says David Amor, principal consultant at MEDgineering Inc., who is...
  • Superbugs Could Mean Medical Cable Assembly Changes

    The silicone-jacketed cable could be on its way out as medtech companies move toward more single-use medical devices.Qmed StaffThermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) could end up being used for medical device cabling assemblies. Molex’s MediSpec Connector, for example, employs a TPE material. (Source: Molex Inc.)Deadly U.S. superbug outbreaks involving certain types of endoscopes could spell change when it comes to the silicone-jacketed cables used on many surgical tools and medical devices, according...
  • Scientists Look to Human-Animal Hybrids for Organ Harvesting

    The unconventional new approach aims to grow human tissue inside pigs and sheep in an attempt to create hearts, livers, and other organs needed for transplant. Kristopher SturgisThe Nakauchi lab at Stanford University has developed chimeric mice and rats by injecting cells from one species into the embryo of a different species. So far, the lab has developed mice with genes from rats and vice versa.  Despite a funding ban put in place by some of America’s most respected health...
  • German Carpenter Develops 'Sperm Switch' as Vasectomy Alternative

    His young company known as Bimek SLV is seeking to commercialize a reversible alternative to vasectomies. Brian BuntzA German carpenter named Clemens Bimek has developed a vasectomy valve that he has tested on himself—another eyebrow-raising example of an amateur inventor who dared to take on a tricky medical device problem.Some urologists think the technology could be a medical revolution, while others are skeptical, according to Der Spiegel.Bimek’s story bears a certain similarity to the 2013...
  • Anticipate 'Safer' Medical Device Innovation

    The amount of change we have seen in the consumer technology has seen in the last decade is huge. The iPhone, not even a decade old, has helped launch a new era of mobile computing, enabling us do everything from adjust our thermostats remotely to hail an Uber.Speaking of Uber, there is no counterpart thus far in the healthcare ecosystem to the car-hailing service, and it is unlikely we’ll see one in 2016. If anything, last year demonstrated the potential perils and the enormous...
  • 5 Medical Device Technology Predictions for 2016

    Qmed's editorial team peers into our crystal ball to identify trends to watch in the coming year. Brian Buntz  Image from Flickr user Sean McGrathLearn more about cutting-edge medical devices at MD&M West, February 9–11 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our daily e-newsletter.
  • Google Glass Begins to Gain Credibility in Healthcare

    Google has not given up on Glass, its headset technology that has been maligned by many commentators in the tech industry, As Google prepares to introduce version 2.0 of Glass, it could find more appreciation from the healthcare sector. Brian BuntzGoogle Glass has already managed to win the support of many doctors and healthcare technology companies who envisage Glass as being a game changer for everything from boosting surgeon's performance to providing a novel neural interface.Some...
  • Expect Gradual Interoperability Progress

    Despite tremendous investments in EHR systems, much of medical data remains siloed. Serious work has begun to find workarounds, but significant change with regards to interoperability is unlikely this year. Brian Buntz  In the image above of an intensive care unit room, there are more than 10 disconnected devices that are clearly not interoperable. “Does this look like smart healthcare?” asks Nick Valeriani, CEO, West Health. In 2013, a white paper from Gary and Mary West Health...
  • Consumer Health-Tracking Tech to Grow Up in 2016

    While the first generation of health-tracking devices could be compared to toys with more flash than substance, things are beginning to change. Expect to start seeing more sophisticated health trackers this year, including some with FDA clearance. Brian BuntzWhile most of the current fitness trackers on the market are little more than glorified pedometers, expect that to gradually start changing. There is clearly a demand for trackers with medical-grade metrics, as evidenced by a recent lawsuit...
  • Big Device Companies See Opportunity for AI in Healthcare

    Major medical device companies are getting serious about the potential of artificial intelligence technology to improve patient care. Here’s Medtronic’s vision for using Big Data and IBM’s Watson to help diabetics.Brian Buntz    There is a growing trend of big device companies announcing partnerships with traditional tech companies. Take for instance Medtronic’s recent presentation at CES, where it showed off its plans to develop diabetes apps powered by IBM’s...
  • Medtronic Unveils Plan for Its Billions in Freed Up Cash

    Financial flexibility is the stated goal from Medtronic. Chris NewmarkerUpdated January 13, 2016The Covidien acquisition allowed Medtronic to access to 65% of its free cash flow, versus a previous 35%. (Chart courtesy of Medtronic)Medtronic announced this week that it will take the $9.3 billion in cash freed up from its mega merger with Covidien last year, and spend most of it on share repurchases and paying down debt.Wall Street appeared to have a ho-hum response to the news...