• These Robots Combine Engineering and Fighting Tactics

    Medical device engineers at Zimmer Biomet and Stryker employed tactics with their BattleBots robots that would be recognizable to human fighters.Qmed StaffThe worlds of engineering and fighting seem to come together in the renewed BattleBots series airing on ABC, according to Qmed’s fellow UBM media outlet Design News.Engineers behind Witch Doctor, designed by a team led by Zimmer Biomet senior engineer Andrea Suarez, and Rotator, designed by a team led by Stryker senior staff engineer Victor...
  • How Google Is Bringing AI to Healthcare

    Google DeepMind has been forging research partnerships with the National Health Service in the U.K. Maureen KingsleyThe concept of artificial intelligence put forth by movie studios in the past few decades centers around creepy, vacant-eyed robots that resemble humans and tend to “go bad” and destroy actual human lives. As with many Hollywood portrayals, however, the truth is far less fantastical and violent, yet just as fascinating: In real life, artificial intelligence, or AI, is...
  • How to Turn Human Cell DNA Into a 'Tape Recorder'

    A new study shows how complex histories can be recorded in the DNA of human cells, allowing them to retrieve data from past events—a breakthrough that could lead to new methods for monitoring infection and cancer progression.Kristopher SturgisBiological engineers at MIT have developed a new technique to enable human cells to recall events from the past, such as inflammation or infection, by sequencing the DNA of individual cells. The method, designed to operate as an analog memory storage...
  • This Sensor System Predicts Your Risk of Falling Down

    The new in-home sensor system measures gait speed and stride length to identify adults who are at high risk for falling, and alert healthcare providers to intervene before a fall occurs.Kristopher SturgisUniversity of Missouri researchers have designed a sensor system that can predict likely falls.The imaging system, installed around the living space, to not only detect when falls occur, but recognize the signs of risk to prevent falls from ever happening, says Marjorie Skubic, professor of...
  • New Injectable Gel Could Repair Weakened Hearts

    Patients who have suffered a heart attack may have a new form of therapy through injectable hydrogels that can repair weakened tissue and possibly prevent future heart failure.Kristopher SturgisModified injectable hydrogel polymers could provide mechanical support to damaged areas of the heart, according to University of Pennsylvania research presented last week at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.Jason Burdick, Ph.D., professor in bioengineering at Penn and leader of the study,...
  • Did Abbott Go Scorched Earth on Alere?

    Alere's legal complaint claims that Abbott's CEO vowed to create a “living hell” to force Alere to end the merger agreement.Nancy CrottiAlere says Abbott Laboratories used some tough-guy tactics to try to get out of their $5.8 billion merger deal, according to a lawsuit filed by the diagnostic company.Publicly, Abbott offered Alere $30 million to $50 million to end the agreement, which the companies signed in January. Alere’s partially redacted lawsuit, unsealed this week in Delaware...
  • MD&M Minneapolis Innovation Prize: Meet the Finalists

    These are some of the most innovative exhibitors at the upcoming MD&M Minneapolis show.Chris NewmarkerA decontamination floor mat to help fight the huge problem of healthcare-acquired infections, a technology that helps combine some of the best aspects of 3-D printing and injection molding—those are but some of the technologies that caught the eyes of Qmed editors and readers as they selected the five MD&M Minneapolis Innovation Prize finalists.The five finalists were chosen out of...
  • These 3-D Printed Polymers Have Shape-Memory Abilities

    MIT engineers have developed three-dimensional structures that can “remember” their original shapes, even after being stretched, bent, and twisted at extreme angles.Kristopher SturgisResearchers at MIT have created 3-D printed multimaterial structures, made of shape-memory polymer materials, that are able to spring back to their original form within seconds of being heated to a specific temperature.Engineers used light to 3-D print a variety of different structures with features as small as the...
  • Where Is Medtech Pay the Best?

    Hint: The answer isn't California.Chris NewmarkerMassachusetts is tops when it comes to average salaries for medical device industry professionals, and medtech insiders in Texas appear to be getting a good deal, too, according to a Qmed analysis of data from MD+DI’s Medtech Salary Survey 2016. (Download a copy of the full report here.)Medical device professionals in California? They kind of seem to be getting the short end of the stick. This needs more explanation. But first, here's a...
  • 5. Worries about VC and IPOs

        The venture capital situation for medical device companies is the worst it has been since the darkest times of the Great Recession, according to a recent report by EP Vantage. And the IPO environment is pretty bad, too.With $670 million raised, the second quarter of 2016 was the worst money raise for medtech companies since the first quarter of 2009, according to EP Vantage.The average deal size during the second quarter was $25 million, the largest it has been since early...
  • 6. The Promise and Peril of Digital Health

        Obamacare and reforms in other developed countries have incentivized health providers to be more concerned about how efficiently and effectively they manage patient populations. So digital health is increasingly a big deal, and a venture capital bright spot.In fact, venture capital database CB Insights reported in June that digital health startups brought in $2.03 billion during the first quarter of 2016.A major VC money raise this year involved cancer care software company...
  • 7. Headaches around UDI

        Implementing real-time tracking of medical devices is turning into a major challenge in the U.S.Among the medical device industry professionals helping to implement FDA’s Unique Device Identification rule, only 15% say their companies are ready for upcoming compliance deadlines, according to a report released in August by enterprise labeling services company Loftware (Portsmouth, NH) and professional services firm USDM Life Sciences (Santa Barbara, CA).The UDIs are meant to...
  • 8. Separating Out the Solid Performers

        Stocks for the big medical device companies achieved more stability during the first half of 2016. As of June 30, a little more than half had stock prices that were up for the year.But there was also a “tale of two continents,” according to a recent report by EP Vantage.Among the world’s largest medical device companies, all but one of the five worst performers were based outside the U.S.Meanwhile, the best performer was Teleflex, a Wayne, PA–based maker of critical care and...
  • 9. Selling Solutions Along With Devices

        Users and clinicians are increasingly demanding more than just a product from medical device companies, and it is not just huge device companies such as Medtronic, Stryker, and GE that are transforming as a result, Qmed’s fellow UBM media outlet MD+DI recently reported.MD+DI cited a recent PwC Health Research Institute report that noted device companies are  "reaching across the ecosystem to offer services that engage patients in real-time, improve physician performance...
  • 10. Surgical Robotics Race Heating Up

        Intuitive Surgical has maintained its reputation as the major innovator in the surgical robotics space: Its investors seem to be pricing in a lot of innovation.The surgical robotics space is nevertheless transforming, though. At the IATIBIOMED 2016 earlier this year in Israel, Devicix's Bill Betten noticed that there were companies with robotic systems very different from the large and expensive systems exemplified by Intuitive Surgical’s daVinci robits. Such systems—ranging...
  • 4. Contract Manufacturers Get Bigger

        There may be a lull in the huge mega-mergers among medical device OEMs. But the contract manufacturers are still playing catchup as they merge and forge partnerships to stay competitive winning business from more streamlined supply chains.Yes, the medtech contract manufacturing industry is facing some near-term turbulence, but the outlook is healthy in the future, according to a recent Standard & Poor’s report. Even officials at publicly traded Integer Holdings Corp...
  • 3. M&A Deals Get Smaller

        The past M&A frenzy in the medical device industry appears to be losing some steam, according to a recent report by EP Vantage.The average monetary value of a medtech acquisition in the first half of 2016 was $401 million; it was more than $2 billion in the first half of 2015, according to EP Vantage. Even when Medtronic’s huge $50 billion purchase of Covidien in early 2015 is taken out of the mix, the aggregate value of all the deals this year is on the way to being less...
  • 2. Cybersecurity Becomes a Real Problem

        Whether in the home or in the hospital, medical devices have become increasingly vulnerable to hacking as they’ve become network aware, says Daniel Mooradian, PhD, of the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute.A tremendous need for security has cropped up, with hackers seeking to monetize healthcare data and even engage in ransomeware attacks.“It’s extremely expensive. Most medical devices aren’t adequately secured, because security is not designed into...
  • 1. 3-D Printing Comes of Age

         This year could truly be remembered as the one in which 3-D printing came of age in the medical device industry.Additive manufacturing is already playing an important role when it comes to prototyping and providing anatomical models of patient anatomy to help surgeons prepare.“Probably the majority of my group’s work is not with the device itself, but supporting accessories. There’s creating anatomical models, creating new manufacturing tools, creating sales...
  • 10 Hot Medtech Industry Trends

        Here are 10 important developments that experts say will affect the future of the medical device industry.Chris NewmarkerThere is a trope used by motivational speakers that the Chinese word for “crisis” is a combination of the symbols for “danger” and “opportunity.”It probably isn’t translated that way. But no matter what, times of disruption actually can present great opportunities. Consider all the now-giant companies such as General Electric, Microsoft, and Apple started...