Medtech in 2019: A mid-year retrospective


What are the biggest medtech news and key developments that have marked 2019 so far?

Let’s take a look at some industry highlights across regulatory approvals, innovation and clinical trials, funding and M&A as picked by our medtech community:

1. Implantable knee shock absorber embedded in first patient in the USA

An implantable shock absorber has now been implanted for the first time in the United States to test whether it can delay the need for total knee replacements, and maybe even avoid such procedures completely in many patients.

The Calypso Knee System was developed by Moximed, a company based in Fremont, California, and surgeons at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are the first to try it out in the U.S. The device attaches to the sides of the femur and tibia bones, away from the joint itself and therefore doesn’t alter the anatomy of the fragile joint.

2. New mathematical model can improve radiation therapy of brain tumours

In developing their mathematical model to spatially optimize radiation therapy in brain tumours, researchers at the University of Waterloo set a cap on the total dose a patient could receive throughout their treatment. They then divided the tumour into multiple portions: with the area most densely populated with cells being one portion and the remainder of cells the other. In some instances, they prescribed the dosage of radiation given to each portion, and in other cases, they allowed the model to determine the best ratio.

“It turned out that not necessarily in all cases do you want to distribute the radiation dose evenly between the fractions,” Meaney said. “What our model has shown is that perhaps what’s best is if we take the total radiation dose that we’re allowed to give a patient and administer it over a small area at high strength where the cells are most dense instead of spreading it over a big area with semi-weak strength.”

3. Optic nerve stimulation device could provide visual aid for the blind

Researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have developed a new type of intraneural electrode to bypass the eyeball and send messages directly to the brain through the optic nerve. The technique could provide a visual aid for permanently blind people.

Using retinal implants to treat blindness is a developing field. The concept involves allowing users to have the sensation of observing light, which is experienced as white patterns. While this isn’t the same as full vision, it can serve as a visual aid for blind people as they go about their daily lives. In many cases, retinal implants can help those with visual impairments.

4. Royal Philips and Medtronic partner on image-guided AF treatment

Under the partnership, Philips’ KODEX-EPD dielectric imaging and navigation system, dielectric imaging sensors, clinical software and services will be leveraged to support cryoablation procedures performed using the Medtronic Arctic Front Advance cryoablation technology.

The KODEX-EPD system is intended to cut the requirement for X-ray imaging during cryoablation procedures. It comes with cryoablation specific features.

Philips EPD Solutions business leader Marlou Janssen said: “This integrated solution can guide physicians during the treatment of AF patients with ablation, as they can view detailed, CT-like 3D anatomy, reducing the need for X-ray imaging.

Partnering with Medtronic extends the reach of our KODEX-EPD cardiac imaging and navigation system. Today, this technology is simplifying navigation, and in the future it has potential for a wide range of applications, including addressing the key unmet need of real-time therapy assessment – one of the more significant limitations of the current standard of care.”

5. Siemens in billion-euro deal for surgical robots firm

The medical devices arm of German industrial conglomerate Siemens has agreed to buy US surgical robots maker Corindus for one billion euros ($1.1 billion), in a deal that must still be approved by shareholders and regulators. Healthineers, which Siemens partially floated on Germany’s MDax medium-sized businesses index last year, has until now mainly focused on building scanners.

“With this acquisition, we are opening up a new field for our image-guided therapies business,” chief executive Bernd Montag said.

6. Boston Scientific completes acquisition of BTG

BTG has three key businesses, an interventional medicine portfolio that encompasses interventional oncology therapeutic technologies for patients with liver and kidney cancers, as well as a vascular portfolio for treatment of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, deep venous obstruction and superficial venous disease.

Mike Mahoney, chairman and chief executive officer of Boston Scientific said: “The addition of the BTG Interventional Medicine portfolio reinforces our category leadership strategy and enables us to offer best-in-class technologies, unparalleled clinical evidence and a strengthened commercial infrastructure to support physicians treating some of the most challenging diseases impacting patient health around the world. Leveraging the employee talent and clinical and commercial expertise of these two high-performing organisations will generate continued innovation and access so that we may advance patient care in ways that neither company could do alone.”


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