What should the Mann Foundation do next?

Brad Perriello, executive editor – Medical at WTWH Media (left), interviews Dr. Robert Greenberg of the Alfred Mann Foundation at DeviceTalks West in Costa Mesa, Calif. [Image by WTWH videographer Graham Smith]

Dr. Robert Greenberg, the Mann Foundation’s new executive chairman, has ideas about where to take one of medtech’s top research and development outfits. He explained more at DeviceTalks West in December.

The new executive chairman of the Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Scientific Research sees the foundation continuing its mission of developing devices for unmet medical needs. The foundation for the first time is also inviting outside companies to use its resources.

Founded in 1985, the Valencia-Calif.–based foundation has launched several innovative companies, including Second Sight Medical Products (NSDQ:EYES), which makes devices for the visually impaired; cochlear implant manufacturer Advanced Bionics, now a subsidiary of Sonova Holding AG (SIX:SOON); and MiniMed, developer of a hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system, now part of Medtronic (NYSE:MDT).

“It was essentially an incubator before the term ‘incubator’ even existed,” said Dr. Robert Greenberg, who took over as executive chairman in June 2018 after serving as non-executive chairman since 2004. (John Petrovich leads AMF as its CEO.)

Get the full story on our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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How Reggie Groves reinvented Medtronic’s atrial fibrillation biz

Reva Medical (ASX:RVA) CEO Reggie Groves got her start in the medical device industry at medtech titan Medtronic. In her upcoming keynote interview at DeviceTalks West, Groves will discuss how that experience has shaped her as a leader and an innovator. Here’s a preview:

When Reggie Groves joined Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) in 2002, she didn’t know very much about the medical device industry. That was by design, she told MassDevice – the company was looking for somebody outside of the medtech world to launch their CareLink Network. It was the world’s first remote monitoring system designed to link the data in patients’ implanted devices with physicians.

Reggie Groves“I knew that (Medtronic) was a big company that was well respected and that was about all I really knew about them,” she said. “I saw what they were doing in remote device check as the start of a complete transformation of the medical device industry – moving away from being the implant to being the data managers.”

After commercializing CareLink and then moving to the regulatory and quality side of the business, Groves stepped up to build Medtronic’s atrial fibrillation ablation business. At the time, according to Groves, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) held a sizable lead in the AF space, followed by St. Jude.

Medtronic’s AF unit “basically didn’t exist,” Groves said – the company had previously sold its electrophysiology business. It was Groves’ job to determine how the company could build an AF division that would stand out among fierce competition.

Catch Groves’ keynote interview at DeviceTalks West on Dec. 11 – register today!

She decided to rethink the way that the company’s sales force was selling its newest technologies to electrophysiologists.

“Most companies would have said, ‘We’ve got this great big sales force, here’s another product in their tool bag. Give it to them and let them sell it.’ And I said, ‘That’s the worst thing we could do because it’s a disruptive technology and we don’t want every customer to have it.’ If you’re the sales rep who’s also selling CRT devices and ICT devices, you’re going to bundle,” she said. “Something is going to be given away and the easiest thing to give away is the new novel thing. You’ll never make any money in AF, which is why Medtronic walked away from it the first time.”

Groves set up her own sales team and told them to only sell Medtronic’s AF technology to early adopters.

“When you walk in the door for the sales meeting, if you get the ‘Oh, it’s too expensive, oh it’s not flexible enough, oh it doesn’t do enough,’ – turn around and walk out the door. That’s not an early adopter. You need to find the customers who get the value proposition,” she explained.

At the time, competitive devices from St. Jude and J&J were designed to allow the very best doctors to perform an ablation anywhere in the heart. At Medtronic, Groves was positioning the company’s AF device as usable by any electrophysiologist who was looking to isolate the pulmonary vein.

Her plan was not without pushback, according to Groves.

“It wasn’t easy, even within Medtronic. I had lots of naysayers and it took the CEO stepping in, listening to the argument and making the call,” she said. “But I got really lucky that I believed in a different approach to launching a product compared to most big companies and Medtronic let me do it my way.”

Don’t miss out on the rest of Groves’ exciting story – see her at DeviceTalks West on Dec. 11-12.

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FDA clears Innovative Health to reprocess major manufacturers’ catheters

Innovative Health said it has nabbed FDA clearances to reprocess diagnostic catheters made by St. Jude Medical, Medtronic and Biosense Webster.

The catheters include St. Jude Medical’s Advisor FL, Medtronic’s Torqr and Marinr and Biosense Webster’s Decanav. Innovative Health said it is the first in the industry to receive clearances to reprocess the Advisor and the Decanav, and the only reprocessor to offer services to cardiac mapping and diagnostic ultrasound catheters from all major electrophysiology device manufacturers.

Get the full story on our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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