Many start-up medical device companies face hurdles in lack of resources, expertise or capital. Many inventors choose to support the initial development phase of their technology with their personal resources, but soon find that they run out of time and money. The project may also be too early in the development phase to attract external investors or venture capital. One solution is to find a commercial partner to support the commercialisation process. The two most common forms are to:
- License the technology: Find a company that may be interested in a co-development opportunity. They may be able evaluate the technology and provide the extra resources to speed up the development process.
- Partner with an OEM manufacturer: Risk share in the development and manufacturing of your medical device. An OEM manufacturer may have the expertise in the development and manufacturing of a particular niche technology. They may also have the ability to sell to other device companies with access to a particular target market.
The following are points to consider in increasing the likelihood of engaging a potential partner.
- Don’t go straight to the big pharmaceutical companies. They are big for a reason and that also means that they are a lot fussier when choosing potential partners. Consider smaller medical device companies that are in a growth phase, that are looking to expand their portfolio.
- Look at the current product offerings of the target partner. Is your product complementary to their current portfolio? Does your product fit in with the company’s vision?
- Attend as many industry networking events as you can. Many medical device and biotechnology companies congregate at specific networking events, designed to bring together people of the same industry. You never know who you will meet that can connect you to the right target company.
- Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Once you have established a list of relevant target companies it is time to ask for an evaluation or potential partnership. Follow-up constantly, be responsive and continually update them on key milestones. Persistence is the key.
- Engage a consulting firm like Inner Maven. The right consulting firm will already have the networks, relationships and knowledge to improve the quality of the partner you need and the timeframe to find them.
At Inner Maven we have successfully engaged multiple commercial partners for our clients during the early phases of development, which has resulted in the successful commercialisation of medical devices.