Over the past two decades, 3-D printing has grown from a niche technology to a multibillion-dollar industry. The manufacturing process was developed in the 1980s as a way to produce small volumes of scale models but has since expanded to include the manufacturing of medical devices and implants for surgical and clinical use. The process, also known as additive manufacturing, uses computer models to build three-dimensional objects by printing materials like plastic, polymers, metals and powders in layers.
Companies like Kalamazoo, MI-based Stryker and Minneapolis-based Medtronic are cashing in on the technology to create innovative orthopedic and cardiovascular products, while other operations like San Diego-based Organovo are churning out 3-D printed organs and tissue that could be used in implants and clinical testing. But implants and organs are only part of the 3-D printing equation, as "bioprinting" also holds sizable potential in the field of medical diagnostics and drug testing.
It was the best of times and the worst of times for med tech CEOs in 2013. Medical device outfits faced a chilly regulatory climate, with product approvals reaching a new low and the 2.3% device tax threatening to damage each company's bottom line. As a result, sales and R&D took a substantial hit--and CEOs responded with a new plan of attack. With industry veterans at the helm of each company, med tech outfits managed to outrun nagging legal woes, win critical devices approvals, generate M&A--and in some cases, post a profit.
Here's the breakdown of what med tech CEOs took home in 2013. And as always, feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.
The top med tech R&D spenders invested more than $10.5 billion on innovation in 2013, up by about $200 million from 2012. The list stayed largely unchanged, reflecting the continued dominance of a few big players, but M&A activity promises to vault some companies up the ranks next year or push others into the top 10.
GE Healthcare is the only new addition to the list, but only because the company told FierceMedicalDevices that its healthcare R&D budget was $1 billion in 2013, although the figure is not stated in its annual report. The new addition kicked Covidien off the latest list.
The top R&D spenders in med tech invested between 6% and 12% of their device sales back into med tech R&D. From dental products to diagnostics to laboratory equipment, cardiology, imaging and orthopedics, the list reflects the variety of businesses in the med tech arena.
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Last year's Fierce 15 med tech winners include an implant maker for sinusitus that recently filed for an $80 million IPO, a fierce competitor to device giants Medtronic and Edwards Lifesciences in the emerging market for minimally invasive heart valves and a market leader in developing nerve-stimulating implant for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. What will 2014 bring? That depends on you.
Dr. Elizabeth Pritts, director of the Wisconsin Fertility Institute, believes that the FDA is wildly overestimating the prevalence of uterine sarcoma in women undergoing hysterectomies and myomectomies for fibroid removal and worries that banning or restricting use of power morcellators will fail to address the problem, putting women undergoing the procedure at risk of upstaged cancer.
The Medtronic merger with Covidien could offer a particular threat to C.R. Bard's vascular business--its largest segment and one of its fastest growing. The company was clear that it's actively in the market for its own strategic acquisitions; it hasn't disclosed a sizeable deal in almost a year.
The second shift at St. Jude Medical's cardiology device manufacturing facility in Sylmar, a suburb of Los Angeles, is being eliminated, resulting in the loss of up 270 jobs. The layoffs will take effect July 28, reports the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.
Covidien is celebrating third quarter earnings buoyed by strong sales, with its surgical solutions unit and progress in emerging markets generating an sizeable increase in cash flow.
Varian Medical Systems closed out a winning streak, while AngioDynamics deepened its losses when each company reported earnings for the second quarter.
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In response to back-to-back incidents involving government laboratories, a top official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has resigned, and the agency has assembled a safety board to address concerns that have arisen after workers were potentially exposed to anthrax and H5N1 flu.
Merck is going through a complete makeover, buying and selling units at a rapid pace. And some of its employees are getting caught in its "out with the old and in with the new" philosophy. Now 600 sales reps have been told their services are no longer needed