Drugs, Devices, Diagnostics and Digital Health Are Converging, And Investors Are Taking Notice

4 Oct

By Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, Life Science Nation; Creator of RESI Conference Series

LSN has studied the breakdown of investor participants in Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conferences over the course of the last year, and we found over 1000 North America-based investors, over 250 Asia-based investors and over 150 Europe-based investors, most of whom attended more than one RESI event. The fundraising CEOs who seek out these investors come to RESI in similar numbers, making the investor-to-entrepreneur ratio at all RESI conferences about one to one, unheard of for a partnering conference.  The RESI conference, due to its focus on early stage life science technologies, provides a present view of how the market is changing by bringing together the players on both side of the table – the earlystage buyers (investors and partners) and the earlystage sellers (scientist-entrepreneurs). As we all know, the healthcare arena and landscape is under dramatic change, with an enormous number new products and services that will become integrated into the healthcare industry.

When we look at these new products that entrepreneurs are showcasing at RESI, we see that they run the gamut from iterative (100 million + in market potential), to breakthrough (one billion +) to transformative (one trillion +).  The LSN Company Platform additionally collates information on tens of thousands of life science companies around the world.  As an example, we used the Company Platform to search for companies with products for surgery, and this is what we found:

Pre-Op

Surgery

Post-Op

Therapeutics/Diagnostics

1619

122

1542

Medical Device

1448

923

1452

Digital Health

326

25

335

This search was performed using the metrics the industry currently uses to define in which sector a company belongs. However, it is becoming extremely hard to classify these companies into discrete silos, as many of these technologies can be included in multiple categories. The industry will have to adapt as the boundaries between sectors become more and more tenuous. 

The lines are blurring all over the healthcare arena. Drugs will be inside intelligent devices connecting to networks of intelligent micro sensors outside and inside the body feeding data to the cloud apps and reporting and adjusting in and out of mobile devices, changing the way patients will cope with debilitating diseases.  Recent technological advancements are changing the face of medical care, including in the OR and pre- and post-op environments. The advent of digital health is leading to better patient monitoring systems, preventing potentially deadly outcomes while reducing the burden on hospital staff.  In addition, medical devices are becoming smaller and smarter, taking advantage of the ability to interface with devices outside the body to monitor improvements and alter treatment plans to increase efficacy.

While these advances are exciting, they do come with many challenges. The lines between therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health are intersecting, and it is now common for products to touch multiple silos. This also increases the difficulties in gaining approval from regulatory agencies, as the evaluation is no longer so clear cut due to the overlap. However, regardless of the challenges, new technologies will come that improve patient outcomes, reduce complications and allow us to perform surgeries that were previously considered impossible.

Many of the investors who share their mandate information with LSN have expressed an interest in areas of convergence between the traditional technology silos in life sciences; investors express interest in digital therapeutics, tech-enabled medical devices and health services, and personalized medicine technologies that encompass elements of both diagnostic and therapeutic breakthroughs.

In RESI and the LSN data platforms, LSN essentially has a crystal ball looking into the future of healthcare!

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