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.
A slump in FDA premarket approvals in 2013 set a somber tone for the coming year. As EP Vantage reported in its "MedTech 2013 in Review," the agency's PMA approval rates were down 44% in 2013 from 2012, with only 23 approvals compared to 41 the previous year. Medical device makers are still struggling to bring their products to market, but a few companies celebrated big regulatory wins in 2014.
On a cold January morning in 2013, my big sister, Gretchen, took her last, labored breath and died. She was 46. Over the course of her last month alive, I developed a growing sense of anger and desperation at how her doctors, as well as the drug and diagnostics industries, seemed to have failed her.
In 2013, a number of outside forces hammered the med tech industry. While things could have been better, most of the top 10 companies in the sector still enjoyed moderate year-over-year revenue gains.
On Jan. 2, 2014, a pacemaker was implanted under my right clavicle, with two wire leads snaked through two veins and into my heart. My experience as a patient showed me how limited the true choices are for most U.S. cardiac patients, despite the marketing hype around innovation in the industry.
Christopher Jones flew in from the U.K. to San Francisco on Jan. 10 to get a head start on celebrating milestones and networking. But the 2014 JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, which began on Jan. 13, was high on his agenda.
Patients have a number of treatment options for depression in both the device and drug realms, but they can take days or weeks to work. Boston's Tal Medical is developing something it claims can do the job far more quickly: a noninvasive neuromodulation treatment that appears to boost a patient's mood in about 20-30 minutes.
FierceMedicalDevices resumes Monday-Friday email newsletter publication today after a nice holiday breather. But we kept a close eye on med tech news in the interim. Check out those stories you may have missed while you were away.
It's time for FierceMedicalDevices (and the whole Fierce crew) to take a breather for the holiday season. But before we do, let's reflect on some of the major trends that affected the med tech industry over the past 12 months.
As we near the end of 2013, one thing is clear: The FierceMedicalDevices stories that propelled the highest levels of web traffic this year reflect the med tech industry at its best and worst.