The Medical Device Landscape

Irvine, Febuary 8, 2018 — Orange County’s life sciences industry has become one of the primary drivers of economic growth in the region. The OC is considered a hub in both the medical device/diagnostics sector and the biopharmaceuticals sector. The device/diagnostics sector has an estimated total economic activity of more than $14.7 billion. In 2013, the sector had a total employment of more than 22,500 people in Orange County which was six and half times the national average.

The medical device industry landscape with an Orange County perspective was the theme of CALIT2’s fourth annual International Symposium on Technology for Biomedical Devices held earlier this week. The symposium is geared toward those breaking into the device market and included participants from China, Japan, Taiwan, France and the U.S.

Edwards Lifesciences, which got its start 60 years ago in Orange County, is now considered the global leader in the science of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring. Stanton Rowe, the company’s chief scientific officer and corporate vice president, talked about medical device development in a large multinational company.

“The impossible is the most fun you can have in medical device development. Just go do the impossible. … Those are the things that really impact patients, too,” Rowe said.

The 80-plus event attendees also heard from Michael Guiliana, a partner with OC-based Knobbe Martens, a leader in providing legal expertise to the medical device industry, and Ed Kacic, president of the Irvine Health Foundation who talked about foundations as investors.

“There are several categories of foundation investments in today’s market,” Kacic explained. “These include program-related investment, mission-related investment and just plain old investing.

Jean Luc Vialard, president of France’s Winnov Medical Device Innovation Institute, told the audience, “We are focused on building a new framework for Health 2.0 adoption in the clinical setting.” He examined the barriers to adoptions faced by solutions in the EU and what strategies health care organizations and startups can utilize to support a more connected, informed and intuitive health care system.

After a brief coffee break with product displays, the second half of the day featured a technology company showcase. A dozen medical device startups – half of whom represented Asian-based locations – pitched their business plans, while the audience provided valuable feedback.

“More than 80 percent of medical device companies have fewer than 50 employees, and many have little or no sales revenue,” Calit2 Director G.P. Li explained. “We organize this international symposium every year to provide productive interactions that help these fledgling companies take off.”

A networking reception concluded the activities.

--Shelly Nazarenus