In 1995, the average time to a successful exit for a medical device startup was about 3 years, according to Rotational Medical CEO Martha Shadan. Now, Shadan said, it can range from 6 to 9 years and cost as much as $50 million. Shadan suggested that the increase in exit time is probably due to risk associated with investing in medtech and a lack of venture capitalists.
“This is a real problem for the industry,” Shadan said this week at MassDevice.com’s 5th annual DeviceTalks Boston event, “and it’s only going to get worse.”
Shadan and other medtech executives discussed trends they’re seeing in the industry before a crowd of more than 300 attendees the DeviceTalks event. The panel included Dr. Omar Amirana, a senior VP at Allied Minds; Jeff Mann, senior managing counsel for Med-Surg at Boston Scientific(NYSE:BSX); Christiana Jacxsens, attorney and shareholder at Greenberg Traurig; and Patrick West, a partner at Mirus Capital. David Dykeman, patent attorney and shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, moderated the discussion.
Patent laws have changed significantly in the past few years – the U.S. Supreme Court delivered major patent opinions and the American patent system switched to a 1st-to-file protocol, Dykeman noted. He recommended that companies file early and often for incremental improvements, and that they watch their competitors closely.
Gaps in intellectual property and consumer complaints is often how Jacxsens gets involved with companies, although she would rather work proactively to prevent litigation, she said.
“Coming from my standpoint and background with litigating, it’s a lot more fun and a lot more helpful to help companies on a proactive basis than when you’re dealt with a set of documents or a set of circumstances with that lawsuit in hand,” she said.