By Zaid Al-Nassir, senior analyst, Decision Resources Group (DRG).
In recent years, medtech innovation tends to be more iterative than disruptive, though every so often we see a truly game-changing new device or modality of treatment. After closely monitoring the medtech market, a recent report by Decision Resources Group (DGR) finds a wave of transformative technologies will likely break over the next five years. More specifically, the report identified four medtech innovations forecasted to shake up the treatment landscape.
Selections were restricted to only include either technologies that were approved in 2018 or were likely to receive approval in the coming few years. The report avoids focus on technologies that were promising solely in terms of revenue generation as well as so-called “me-too” technologies, limiting submissions to unprecedented innovations, significant therapeutic expansions, and drastically improved technologies.
Based on in-depth analysis of the level of innovation, potential patients and potential revenue, the report finds neurostimulation, regenerative medicine; CAR T-Cell therapy; AI and machine learning in interventional cardiology; and transcatheter mitral valve implantation/replacement (TMVI/TMVR) will have the greatest potential impact in terms of sales and patient outcomes over the coming years, and here’s why:
Transcatheter mitral valve implantation/replacement (TMVI/TMVR)
Why it made the cut: After a decade of development, TMVR is finally close to becoming a commercial reality. The complex and difficult anatomy of the mitral valve and the critical nature of the treatment make this an immensely exciting development.
Details: Mitral valve patients who have heart failure are poorly served by extant solutions, including repair or replacement surgeries; as a result, many companies are attempting to develop a solution similar to transcatheter aortic valve replacement (a percutaneous catheter-based solution for patients with stenosed aortic valves who are too frail to undergo surgery) for the much larger population of mitral valve disease patients.
AI and machine learning in interventional cardiology
Why it made the cut: This development paves the way for robotics in some of the most complex and common surgeries. Aside from procedural concision, this technology holds the potential to significantly reduce costs to health care systems.
Details: AI and machine learning are increasingly being incorporated into surgical robots in the cardiovascular space. For example, Corindus Vascular Robotics has developed the TechnIQ, an intelligent robotic arm with an algorithmic assist; the CorPath GRX may be able to perform “autopilot” percutaneous coronary interventions in the near future by relying on image detection/recognition, 3D construction, and force sensors.
Moreover, data collected from such devices can lead to digitized motion information, which can be translated into best practice guidance and further incorporated into software to optimize techniques.
CAR T-Cell therapy
Why it made the cut: The truly novel nature of this therapy and its utility in treating cancers and diseases with heretofore grim prognoses makes this one of the most innovative technologies to hit the market in decades.
Details: Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy involves collecting a patient’s T-cells, genetically modifying them to target specific proteins occurring in malignant cells, then multiplying those T-cells in a lab and infusing them back into the patient, where they will multiply and overwhelm cancer cells.
CAR T-cell therapy is currently at the forefront of regenerative medicine, but future advancements in this field may be even more impactful—natural killer cell-based immunotherapy, for example, is rapidly gathering momentum.
Why it made the cut: The instantaneous impact of neurostimulation is remarkable, but what makes this treatment pathway potentially revolutionary is its effectiveness in helping paralyzed patients regain mobility, not to mention its potential to curb opioid abuse by providing an alternative to pain medications.
Details: Neurostimulation, which involves connecting a bundle of nerves to a power source and modulating the nerves by upregulating or downregulating activity in a particular area, has been in use for some time, producing striking results in the treatment of essential tremors and Parkinson’s Disease (PD).
Though it has traditionally been indicated for conditions like pain, epilepsy, and PD, recent advancements in this space have revolved around helping paralyzed patients regain independent mobility, as well as the treatment of arthritis, peripheral pain, migraines, and sleep apnea; its applications in combating pain, in particular, make it a potential alternative to addiction-prone pain drugs that have fueled the ongoing opioid epidemic.
Looking forward, it is expected that these innovations will have an immense impact on various medtech spaces, presenting current and prospective competitors with substantial opportunities for growth; in addition, and perhaps more critically, these technologies will allow health care providers to deliver solutions for patients whose needs have not been sufficiently addressed by existing devices, whether by alleviating pain, improving quality of life and expanding treatment accessibility.