FountainBlue’s July 18 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum was on the topic of the Patient Revolution. Below are notes from the conversation.
With the aging of the baby boomer generation, and the resultant huge volume of older, more affluent, more empowered consumers, there have been increasing demands for delivering life science solutions, from diagnostics to personalized medicines, from devices to nutragenics. Our panelists agreed that the challenge and the opportunity is to cost-effectively and efficiently create personalized, patient-specific data, services and products which would serve the breadth and depth customers from individual patients to physicians, hospitals and clinics, from payors to small providers to insurers. Indeed, the key is to leverage technology in a way which automates the production and distribution of information and services while minimizing risk and maximizing impact and quality treatment for the patient, benefiting everyone throughout the value chain.
Baby boomers have created a population spike which, like a snake who has swallowed a mouse, has impacted markets and industries throughout their life cycle, from infant to toddler, from teenager to young adult to middle age. As boomers are techno-philic, affluent, health-conscious and influential, their voices have been heard and have impacted market development and direction. So as they age, infirmities and elected treatments of an aging patient, from obesity to diabetes to sleep apnea, from baldness to arthritis, from sports injury treatment to knee replacement, will quickly rise in demand.
So the opportunities are there, but there are also challenges in meeting the opportunity, including reimbursement policies (particularly with Medicare changes), regulatory approval (particularly in the US where the FDA is becoming both more stringent and more unpredictable), as well as the ‘normal’ challenges of the life science industry overall: the longer development cycle, the greater need for capital, the greater risks involved, etc.
Those who will be able to meet those challenges will be more creative in bringing their products to market. Our panelists’ suggestions on how to do so are listed below:
• Put your products in the hands of the patient through channels such as your local drugstore (like Walgreens) or market (like Costco).
• Where possible, avoid the need for FDA approval or seek approval in countries outside the US before bringing it to market in the US.
• Serve a market need and target customers who are willing to pay for it, even if it has to come from their own pockets. Leveraging personal health care savings accounts (an increasingly popular strategy for patients) might help.
• Angels are syndicating and supporting early stage companies with a promising business model and plan and proven technology. Build relationships with angels who might be great mentors and potential funders.
• Help our policy-makers make decisions which would reward physicians to do the right thing for their patients, reward patients for making effective health decisions.
• Leverage social media and the web to grow your customer base, build your brand, create new channels, etc.
Our panelists commented on some hot opportunities for better serving the empowered patient.
• Help providers such as clinics and hospitals better, more efficiently treat and serve their patients leveraging IT offerings from databases to cloud to business analytics.
• The days of the blockbuster drugs are past, so whether you are in pharma or devices or biomed or mHealth, create personalized solutions which serve all stakeholders more cost-effectively.
• Baby boomers have historically adopted wellness and nutragenics solutions throughout their lifetime, and as they age, their preferences and needs will change. Anticipating and addressing this need will help forward-thinking companies succeed.
• Baby boomers love their independence, so products, services, solutions which help them remain independent as they age-in-place will likely be popular.
• Services and solutions which would help baby boomers make good health decisions for diet and exercise, and those that help patients understand their risks and genetic make-up will continue to grow.
The bottom line is that all stakeholders, from patients to providers to clinics, hospitals and insurers and policy-makers, need to forge a convergence between the world of technology, with its access to databases, business analytics, dynamic solutions, etc and the world of patient care, with its combination of pharma, device, medical record and health management solutions. The trick is t do this in a way which helps all parties make the best health decision *and* the most cost-effective solution for all parties, and collaborating to make it work.
We would like to thank and acknowledge our panelists for FountainBlue’s July 18 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum, on the topic of the Patient Revolution:
Facilitator William Wright, VP Operations/ Business Development, Bay Area, at California MedTech LLC
Panelist Richard Ayllon, Director, Global Business Development, Ventus Medical
Panelist Don Ross, Healthtech Capital
Presenting Entrepreneur Ash Damle, Founder and CEO, Medgle
Presenting Entrepreneur Howard Edelman, President & CEO, VitalWear
Presenting Entrepreneur Oostur Raza, President & CEO, OmegaGenesis
Please join us in thanking our sponsors at KPMG for their ongoing support of the series.