From Biodesign Process

racquel and ayo

Ayo & Racquel’s Biodesign Externship with Medtronic Labs in Nairobi, Kenya

During the fellowship year, all Biodesign Innovation Fellows spend approximately one month exploring a new segment of the health tech industry. The externship is a unique opportunity to broaden perspectives and develop new experiences. Ayo and Racquel teamed up to find an externship due to their shared passion for developing international experience and understanding the healthcare system in emerging markets. The following Q&A provides an outline of their international externship experience.

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irhythm-panel

iRhythm team shares success story at this year’s SBAA annual alumni event

This year’s Biodesign Alumni Annual Event featured a panel discussion with the iRhythm team. The San Francisco-based company has changed the way cardiac arrhythmias are diagnosed through their cloud connected wearable biosensing technology. Panel members from iRhythm included Founder and former CMO Uday Kumar, Derrick Sung (Executive VP, Strategy & Corporate Development), Mark Day (Executive VP of R&D), and iRhythm’s CEO Kevin King, who brought the company public.

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YC W2015

Can Y Combinator companies hack medtech?

Those of us who went through the Biodesign fellowship in recent years have heard many times how ridiculous it is to start a medical device company out of the program in the current environment. When my teammate, Shreya Mehta, and I told people that we were planning to do just that with an implantable device that was going to require clinical trials, a non-trivial FDA process, and third-party reimbursement, people looked at us like we were certifiably insane. So when we first went out looking for funding for Zenflow in late 2014, we knew we were going to have to bring our A-game and cast a broad net. Having witnessed a mass exodus of investors from early-stage medtech to the seemingly greener pastures of Healthcare IT and Consumer Software, we began compiling a long list of non-traditional investors, accelerators, and grant opportunities. As I had spent some time in the software world beforehand, I was familiar with Y Combinator (YC), the accelerator that started accelerators, and the place where startup unicorns – or even decacorns like Dropbox – were supposedly born. But why would this shrine to hackers that fully embraces Marc Andreesen’s “Software is eating the world” philosophy want anything to do with a company that has a purely mechanical product and comes from an industry that is not eating the world, but rather being eaten by it? Our hopes were not high to say the least. But sure enough, right there on YC’s Requests For Startups page was a beacon of hope: “Medical devices also seem like fertile ground for startups.” So you’re telling me there’s a chance!

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neuro panel

The Future of Neurotech: A Fireside Chat

On October 28, 2015, a gathering of the Stanford Biodesign Alumni association, the current Biodesign fellows, and Women in Medtech members, was treated to a delightful fireside chat on the Neuromodulation frontier. The panelists shared a wide array of perspectives first-hand: from entrepreneurs building exciting neurostimulation products, to leaders of publicly traded companies marketing neuromodulation devices and even included the venture capital perspective on the future of this promising field of bioelectronic medicines. Hosted graciously at the T3 Advisors’ office in Palo Alto, this event was a treat for the audience who were entirely engaged in a lively discussion over cocktails.

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Mid-year Reflections from the Biodesign Fellows: Part 2 of 2

fellows2015

As Biodesign alumni are well aware, the fellowship year is over in a blink of an eye. As the fellows ventured out for their externships and had a moment to reflect on the year to date, the SBAA asked six fellows:

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to yourself right before the fellowship started, what would it be?

The responses showed a diversity of backgrounds and personalities, although a common theme does shine through – go out of your comfort zone and take full advantage of the experience. The fellowship provides plenty of opportunities to learn a new process, discover new ways to work, and create enduring relationships with incredible people.

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Mid-year Reflections from the Biodesign Fellows: Part 1 of 2

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The 2014-15 fellowship has passed the halfway mark and the three fellowship teams are deep into concept refinement and testing. This year’s cohort comprises six physicians and six engineers with a mix of clinical, business, and research backgrounds. Each of the twelve fellows arrived at Biodesign with some prior work in medical devices and each carried certain expectations about the process. In this post, six fellows discuss their prior expectations, the surprises they encountered, and how their expectations have shifted during the year.

SBAA asked these six fellows to answer the following question:

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about the medtech innovation process since you started the fellowship?

Their responses are below.

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Partner Post: ICInnovation – Where Israeli Medical Innovation Lives Online

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The Innovations in Cardiovascular Interventions (ICI) Meeting, held in Israel every year, is an internationally renowned conference bringing together clinicians, researchers, and industry to provide a wide perspective on new technologies in the field of cardiology and cardiovascular surgery. Led by Prof. Chaim Lotan and Prof. Rafael Beyar, It is regularly attended by over 700 attendees from more than 40 countries. The next meeting will be held in Tel-Aviv at the David Intercontinental Hotel from Dec. 14-16.

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Death of a (Medtech) Salesman?

death copyMedtech sales is being turned on its head by policy changes and the growth of Big Medicine.   Sales reps and device innovators can pivot their strategy and still be successful if they properly identify stakeholders and adapt their value proposition.

Only a few years ago, a medical device sales representative (“rep”) could establish a relationship with a clinician, convince this provider of a new product’s clinical benefit, and close a sale.  These days, throughout the medtech industry, we often hear horror stories of hospital systems taking purchasing decisions away from clinicians, large group purchasing organizations (GPOs) stifling innovation, and physician-owned distributors trying to replace sales reps. What in the heck is going on with medtech sales?

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Erik van der Burg and the Lean Medtech Startup

If There’s a New Model, What Is It? How Lean Can Be Rewarding

Picture of Erik van der BurgLast month several Biodesign alums had the opportunity for an in-depth personal conversation with serial medical device entrepreneur Erik van der Burg.  Many of us were eager for the chance to hear directly from Erik about his approach to medical device startups.

We’ve been exposed to many of the headlining success stories of the past few years, which are always inspiring.  However, the current funding environment has made the classic model of a big game-changing idea backed by bold venture capitalists as difficult as ever.  Tolerance for risk among funding sources has diminished.  This environment has led many in the space to ask: “What is the new funding model?”

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The 1Q2011 Report: Reflections from the Singapore Fellows

In 1Q2011, the Singapore Fellows hit several major targets, including

–          The Cheesecake Factory on University Avenue

–          The Texas Roadhouse in Union City

–          The Dr. Perkins Breakfast at Buck’s Restaurant in Woodside

Our journey of discovery was not without its challenges, however. In a few words, the Singapore Fellows weigh in on the following mid-year topic.

In one paragraph: what was the most challenging aspect of transitioning from your previous life (engineer, physician, or researcher) to jumping into the Biodesign innovation process?

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A Day in the Life

Mid-Year Reflections from 10th Class of Biodesign Fellows

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
– Leonardo da Vinci

The fellows are now over 4 months into the Biodesign Innovation Fellowship, and we have been striving to put Leo’s words into practice. Reading or just talking about how to innovate new medical technologies is not enough. We must do.

Each of us came into the program with a unique set of experiences and expectations. Reflecting on our progress thus far at about the midpoint through the year, the fellows were tasked with answering the following question:

In one paragraph: what was the most challenging aspect of transitioning from your previous life (engineer, physician, or researcher) to jumping into the Biodesign innovation process?

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The Real World: Biodesign

A future fellow waxes philosophical on what lies ahead this year for the 2010-2011 fellowship class. In addition to the challenge of learning and applying the Biodesign innovation process, the fellows will have to face the biggest challenge of them all: dealing with each other. See what advice past alumni fellows had to offer, as well as provide your own comments and feedback on how we can make the year a fruitful learning experience.

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Yea, but what’s the problem? A simple lesson learned from a current fellow

As a current Biodesign fellow, now one-third of the way through the program, I am confident in saying that the most useful lesson learned so far happens to be the simplest of them all…

Now three weeks removed from the program’s flagship clinical immersion and needs finding phase, my team has just finalized a list of 16 clinically observed needs—filtered down from a less manageable 260—which we will use as a medium for learning the rest of the Biodesign process. Around here, this method for systematically identifying, validating, and putting forth a strategy for solving some of today’s unmet clinical needs is simply referred to as “The Process.”  The two fellowship teams of four are composed of engineers, physicians, PhD’s and business people. We have all spent the beginnings of our young careers attempting to solve some very difficult problems. Now as fellows, we are given the privilege of trying to do something much tougher, something completely foreign…we are asked to find them. Read more