Options for Physicians with Ideas for New Medical Devices
Physicians and medical professionals often find a need for a better device to use in their profession. Whether to improve a surgical or treatment outcome for the patient, simplify a medical procedure or make the procedure safer for the patient or the doctor, or simply to capitalize on a great idea, the physician needs some help to commercialize his or her idea. Who can they turn to for this kind of assistance? There are several resources and alternatives that medical professionals have used to bring their idea to life. Here is a brief rundown of the main options they can face.
Law firms may sometimes specialize in ownership protection with the support of patent and copyright law. They can assist the doctor with an appropriate equity or royalty contract that the doctor can then use in working with other resources to design, manufacture and commercialize the device. Attorneys experienced in the medical field may also be able to assist with getting patents filed and provide consultation as you work with the FDA for Class I, II or III approval.
Medical Device Design Firms
There are engineering firms who specialize in the design of medical devices. You can bring them your idea or concept, and they can assist in fine tuning a design for your device. Further, they can provide the prints necessary to manufacture the device. However, these firms rarely offer a manufacturing capability to build the devices.
The physician inventor can then bring the design and print to a contract manufacturer to produce the devices. A good CM might also provide some design suggestions, especially as it might relate to Design for Manufacturability (DFM) or designing the product in such a way to facilitate the manufacturing process, and preventing unnecessary production issues, costs or delays.
Once the device is manufactured, the physician needs to sell the devices. A sales effort is required which could range anywhere from a “Do-It-Yourself” approach to partnering with an established medical sales network that covers the potential market and region. In addition, a marketing effort will be required to promote the device that builds awareness and supports the sale of the devices. This might include the development of a website, e-commerce, literature, training materials, direct marketing, advertising, trade shows and many other potential activities.
There are some significant issues inherent in working with these “ala carte” resource providers:
- No one has full responsibility. They are not responsible or accountable for the “next step,” so you’re alone, often without recourse or support, to proceed from one stage to the next in the development process.
- Experience with medical devices isn’t everything. Many of the above-mentioned resources have great experience with medical devices, but if their business models aren’t in sync with your interests as the inventor, what does this matter?
- Erosion of profit. Every service provider is a profit-making organization. By working with multiple resources or providers, you are paying each one a significant share of the potential profit. Once you finally get to the commercialization and marketing stage, you may find your profit isn’t what you expected it to be, having sliced up the pie in a number of ways.
- Integrity issues. There have been instances where physicians have felt their best interests were not being considered, where the provider(s) seemed in it simply for the money. Whether your device would ultimately succeed or be profitable was secondary to their earning fees. These physicians did not feel they were in control.
- Lack of an integrated approach. By using an ala carte provider approach, the overall process may take much longer to bring your device to market, and there may be more issues along the way, not mention higher costs. An integrated approach makes much more sense, as all variables in the total process are considered from the beginning.
The Solution – An Integrated Approach
Finding a company that can provide ALL of the services mentioned above is an ideal solution. This type of business model is based on getting through each stage of development in the most efficient way possible, saving time and money. It has the physician inventor’s best interest at heart, as it has a significant stake in the successful design, manufacture and sales of your device.
Empower Medical Devices offers an integrated approach and fully partners with its physician inventors. With complete transparency and full participation in the development and commercialization process, the physician partner is able to maintain control, while getting the support needed. Further, there are several engagement options for the physician partner – equity-based or royalty-based.
Other resources with an integrated approach like Empower Medical Devices are unknown. We believe we are one-of-a-kind and the best option for physician inventors.Back To Blog