New Blood for Neurotech

For the last eight years, the neurotechnology industry has been dominated by three large, publicly held medical firms: Medtronic, St. Jude Medical, and Boston Scientific. Much as they did in the cardiac device market in the previous decade, these three behemoths have divvied up the neurotech device space, maintaining their share of clinicians and patients with spinal cord stimulation systems. We anticipate a similar level of competition in new categories such as deep-brain stimulation, occipital-nerve stimulation, and others.

Readers of this publication have been able to trace the new technology development and product positioning of these three firms over the years. And it will be interesting to see how this competition evolves with new management teams in place at the three firms. At last month’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, we had an opportunity to hear from the new CEOs at two of those firms [NBR Jan12 p6]. New Medtronic CEO Omar Ishark said he would demand greater productivity from the firm’s R&D efforts. Interim Boston Scientific CEO Hank Kucheman said he will look for M&A opportunities that deliver a near-term revenue increase. Michael Mahoney, former head of Johnson & Johnson’s medical device group, will take over for Kucheman later this year. Both of these firms may represent an excellent partnership opportunity for smaller neurotech firms looking for shelter or leverage from a major corporate player.

And while St. Jude Medical CEO Dan Starks remains at the helm at that firm, there is a new head of the company’s neuromodulation division.

Rohan Hoare took over as president of the division last fall from Chris Chavez, who successfully managed the transition and integration of Advanced Neuromodulation Systems into St. Jude Medical. Chavez’ leadership, both before and after the acquisition, was highly regarded by many in the industry and he will be missed by staff and colleagues. Although Hoare has big shoes to fill, he has been actively involved in St. Jude’s product strategy for many years and is in a good position to guide the neuromodulation division in the years ahead. Hoare joins two other relatively new neuromodulation heads: Maulik Nanavaty, who took over from Michael Onuscheck as president of Boston Scientific’s neuromodulation division last year, and Tom Tefft, who took over from Richard Kuntz as president of Medtronic’s neuromodulation division in 2009.

We offer a hearty welcome and our best wishes for success to the new leaders in our industry. And we expect no less of a competitive battle as these executives guide their firms in new directions in the years ahead.

James Cavuoto
Editor and Publisher



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