Why would this automotive company venture into healthcare?


Why would this automotive company venture into healthcare?

If you are wondering about which company are we referring to; it is Toyota.

Yes, Toyota has recently partnered with Dean Kamen, the inventor of Segway, human transporter, to develop intelligent wheelchairs for disabled and aged people.

As a part of the partnership, Toyota gets to use Dean Kamen license on balancing technology, that he used in IBOT wheelchair earlier.

Now question that arises is why automotive pioneer wants a bite of healthcare?

We all know technology companies regard healthcare as most lucrative market, and are paving their way into futuristic devices via alliances and partnerships.However no healthcare focussed activity had been viewed from Auto motive players ( Except for this one off course).

Now let us come to the answer on what drove Toyota down this healthcare lane –

Its not a random turn of events but a well thought out initiative of Toyota, where the company had allotted USD 1 billion dollar for developments around artificial intelligence and robotics.

This partnership with Dean Kamen aligns to its robotics vision, and happens to be nothing but a small picture in overall frame of ROBOTICS.

Its good to see that companies like Toyota are putting the core technical know how to better healthcare solutions.Further it would be awesome if more non-core companies came together  to carve out novel healthcare solutions.

Catch here is, Toyota is contributing to medtech by materializing its core industry strengths, now that is a learning which other non-medtech peers can take from this partnership.

Story taken from Bloomberg.

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Can computers replace surgeons?


4 out of 10 developments in healthcare revolve around automating systems, with fundamentals flagged to robotics. Every aspect from diagnosing to surgeries has seen a great amount of inclination towards robotics. All these are routed to one greater reason, which is improvising healthcare and making its technologies more precise, quick and economical.

Human errors can be reduced significantly by protocol adherence however there (Human = Surgeons and Physicians) availability on the account of increased patient head counts remain daunting issue for HCP (Health Care Personnel).

Making an effort to address this challenge is IBM which has begun training Watson computer to read CT & other images. While surgery and diagnosing areas of healthcare witnessed development from the likes of Intuitive Surgical and Scanadu, image interpretation was first of its kind development in healthcare.

The development quest begun just after IBM had acquired company Merge, a healthcare player having a right material (30 Billion Medical Images) for streamlining venture’s vision for healthcare. Merge Health houses close to 30 billion medical images which can act as potential feedstock for designing this image reading computer. According to claims the device could read CT images, MRI scans , ECGs and other image types for patient health interpretation.

According to industry news features the fundamentals of this development will include making computer scan through various image samples from subjects (patients and healthy people) and help structure an algorithm that differentiates the image with abnormalities .Though various surgeons from around the globe had a mixed opinion on this quest, majority of them are inclined in saying that this innovation is very unlikely to replace doctors and is just going to help them become better surgeons. The statement was made on the grounds of technology tip that happened years back, a trend carrying similar air and claims around it. Development in reference is transition from film to digital, an activity that contributed to their roles betterment in healthcare ecosystem.

Image reading computer development’s thought and materialization started because of the increasing need of patients for a better and quicker screening solution. While the hospital houses only certain head count of care takers, world was in dire need of a system that can predict nature of issue by looking at scan results (Images and Graphs). If the problem was trivial and does not need surgeon’s intervention, it saves cost; else it helps take the issue reach surgeons attention quickly.

Debate on, if it is going to replace surgeons or not is secondary , what is important here is non-core companies are developing healthcare through their expertise skill sets and are not hesitant to shell out cash either for technology licensing , partnership or in this case an acquisition. While the healthcare’s future always seems to be blurred on account of growing ailments, developments like this provide little clarity to the image, and for sure come out as an assuring one.

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One more feather added to Israel medtech hat

Image Source: Company Website

Israel can’t hold itself from innovating healthcare.

All the healthcare innovations that are referred as disruptive will have its root flagged to Israel in some or the other way. It would not be wrong to quote region, as medtech innovation hub. It is cited by some journals as a province that could lead medtech tech breakthroughs, primarily because it lives and breathes revolution.

Though the country stands in the middle of all the possible odds, its man power does not seem to get diverted from their goal of transforming healthcare on day to day basis.

Walking on a similar path and living up to region’s reputation is; Israeli nitric oxide drug device player, AIT, who after investing its time and resources for close to 4 years on developing its product technologies, want to venture into bigger game by hosting USD 36 million IPO.

Off late, good numbers of news releases focused around nitric oxide and its healthcare application have started to flood medtech journals.

Earlier this month it was around generating nitric oxide through air which made N-Oxide based treatments inexpensive, and now the development from yet another organization looking to address respiratory issues through nitric oxide based platforms.

AIT ( Advanced Inhalation Therapies) intends to use the inherent properties of NO, which are anti-bacterial, fungi and viruses to treat patients. It says that, one of the way by which body immune system responds to external agents is via NO release. A point which we believe is the foundation of company’s entire developments. AIT aspires to use the fund generated from IPO hosting to run clinical trials for its NO based formulation and delivery system.

Company had started its chase of developing a novel formulation and delivery system for areas where current developments have limited effectiveness. With strong pipeline of products answering the need of patients suffering from bronchiolitis, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia and asthama, AIT holds key to some of the most challenging health issues to be dealt with.

Innovations are much needed for healthcare than any other sector, as with in healthcare they save lives while in counterpart sector they simplify it. And we would not be wrong in saying that Israel will take the greater pie in these developments, going by the stats from the past, where it is strongly positioned

Is Innovating A Boon Or Bane In Disguise ?


Is innovation a good thing ? Is being the first one to develop, advantageous? Do forerunners deserve royalty payments?

All these are the questions that are been raised by medtech innovators who according to recent Harvard study, do not get incentivised, but rather billed for the extra effort they  put in to develop innovative technologies.

Study from  Harvard Business School outlines that device that undergoes high risk PMA pathway are charged higher and take extra time in comparison to there follow on version. The delay cost is as high as USD 6.7 million ,a cost over USD 94 million that a company shells  out for high risk PMA approval , claims study results.

The research study was published in  Aug 2015 HBSWEEK copy.

According to study first high risk medical device which contains likes of stent , aortic heart valve as device types take 34% higher time in comparison to follow on versions. These stats demotivate players like Medtronic , BSC and others to innovate, as innovation bears no extra benefits for an organization which spends millions and billions to make a product patient ready, all for betterment of healthcare ecosystem.

Parallel pharma industry on other hand always favors innovators, with biopharma given a special privilege of bio-betters. Only in certain cases like para 4 innovators take a back stand , primarily because patients immediate need and affordability are made a priorities over rewards.

Regulatory authorities agree to the fallback, outlining they have been performing outstanding in protecting front but not in promoting. And hence they claim of adding on speedy checks & approvals across various regulatory amendments to address the need of the hour. Under recent regulatory introduction, namely 21st century cures act , speedy pathway clause is structured just to answer the same issue.

Innovation in healthcare are to address the unanswered questions of patients, and if they are getting impacted by some glitches at regulatory level, it’s an issue that needs to be looked into with shear priority.

All we can hope is that FDA lives up to its claims and provide patients world wide with better innovative devices. After all, we all want a better healthcare ecosystem that banks on preventing rather than curing.

Medical Device News Trends 23032015

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