AdvaMed’s 2018 Medtech Conference has come and gone. Yet another year in the books for the medtech industry’s leading event. Here are two things we learned and one thing we’d really like to see.

If your new medtech innovation isn’t gathering shareable data, it should be

The overall medtech investment numbers for 2016, particularly from venture funds, were sobering. This is due at least in part to larger investments needed to push young companies past commercialization milestones like regulatory and reimbursement, which leaves less for early investment in the next wave of innovation. They’re also experiencing lower returns. According to a 2016 Deloitte report an analysis of 25 venture backed medtech startup deals returned 4.1x between 2004 and 2007. But the 25 most recent averaged just 2.3x.

On the bright side, digital health technologies are attracting much more capital investment in Series A rounds than traditional medtech. Shorter development lifecycles, regulatory requirements and lower barriers to entry contribute to this. The lesson: if your novel medtech or device idea can’t generate or share data, you will need high confidence in its value proposition, addressable market and reimbursement pathway before courting Series A investors. Google, Apple, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft are “all in” on digital health and convergence. Devices that generate and share valuable data in context for therapeutic indications in the patient monitoring, management and population health realm will likely attract funding at a premium.

G is for “Global”; but Always Thinking Local

Attendance at the 2018 Medtech Conference was down. There was a noticeable drop off in attendees and sponsors. Is there a correlation between the declining investment numbers referenced above and attendance? Is there just not a large enough local ecosystem to pack the house in Philadelphia? It’s never just one thing, so we’ll let you decide. Nevertheless, the transformation of healthcare awaits us all.

We spent much of our time in Philly with regional-based colleagues and making new connections with international collaborators. As the Global Center for Medical Innovation we work with clients from all over the world. However, with each engagement we are always pleasantly reminded that each “users’ needs” drive the “specs” of each interaction. It’s what makes our job so dynamic; no day is the same. And with technologies converging in novel ways, solving healthcares problems requires everyone’s collective experience, curiosity and creativity. This underscores the enduring value of well-produced industry leading events; connect with colleagues in a focused, prescriptive, new and personal ways. The Southeast medtech ecosystem, especially Atlanta with its Global Health ATL initiative, is energized, capable, growing and ready to help drive disruptive advancements in medtech.

So…AdvaMed…please bring the Medtech Conference to Atlanta! Bring the future of digital health as the theme and let us show you how, where and why innovators and investors across the globe should be making the convenient flight into ATL and collaborating with the southeastern U.S. for their product development and launch, expansion to the U.S. market and high-value medtech and bioinnovation investments.

About the author
Andrew Stevenson is executive director, business strategy, with the Global Center for Medical Innovation.