In the light of your experience what are the trends and challenges you’ve witnessed happening with respect to the MedTech Startups space?
Jesse : Fortunately the investment climate for medtech has improved steadily over the past several years. Last year U.S. healthcare fundraising hit a record at over $9.6 billion, and this year is on pace to do it again. Device startups have for a long time struggled to get the attention of early stage investors when compared to biopharma companies and their huge multiples and exit values. The difficulty raising capital at early stages, combined with the continued political uncertainty in the healthcare industry, means medical device startups will likely struggle to get attention.
Could you talk about your approach to identifying the right partnership providers from the lot?
Jesse : We exist to improve patient safety. Our IV delivery system is designed to leverage information in the hospital, reduce the cost and the burden on caregivers and to improve patient outcomes. It’s important that we partner with a hospital or healthcare system with a strong culture of adopting new technology to improve healthcare delivery and streamline clinical workflow. Also, in order to fully realize the benefits of our infusion system, we need to integrate with our partners’ existing Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), so we’re targeting larger health systems and hospitals with more mature IT and biomed capabilities and modern EMRs, such as Cerner or EPIC.
Could you elaborate on some interesting and impactful project/ initiatives that you’re currently overseeing?
Jesse : We recently secured FDA clearance for our first product so we are solely focused on preparing for our commercial launch. But our product and our mission are impactful by their nature. Our FDA clearance is the first and only regulatory approval for a large-volume infusion system under the FDA’s more stringent guidelines, adopted in 2014 to address the pump malfunctions and associated injuries and deaths. We sincerely believe that our solution will solve many of these safety-related problems during infusion therapy. This is a far-reaching problem considering that 90 percent of patients will receive an infusion during their hospital stay and 70 percent of those people will experience at least one error. Our goal is to reduce medication errors and save lives. This is the most important mission there is in our industry.
“the biggest shift in healthcare we are going to live through in the next 20 years that will shape technology and innovation is the move to personal, or individual, health management”
What are some of the points of discussion that go on in your leadership panel? What are the strategic points that you go by to steer the company forward
Jesse : Our leadership is steadfast in its commitment to improving patient safety by reducing infusion-related errors. All infusion pumps on the market today are more than 20 years old. We’ve experienced every other technology in our lives evolve by orders of magnitude over the last two decades. Why are medical devices so far behind? This opportunity—and obligation we hold ourselves to—to change an industry and have a meaningful impact on patient care is our guiding light. We have to constantly make sure we never compromise on safety or quality. We have an unwavering belief in our mission and if we do what we say then everything else will work itself out.
Can you draw an analogy between your personality traits, hobbies and how they reflect on your leadership strategy?
Jesse : I’m a very hands-on leader and have adopted a coach or mentor role. I lead by example and it’s important to me to create an environment where others can thrive. At a medtech startup, you often have clinicians, engineers, pharmacists, IT specialists, product developers, business development and sales teams all working in tandem to achieve the same goal. It’s my job to ensure they can all do their best work possible in a collaborative, respectful culture. I try to get people to internalize different views, challenge assumptions, be bold and take risks – and make sure the environment is safe and supportive.
How do you see the evolution of the MedTech Startups arena a few years from now with regard to some of its potential disruptions and transformations?
Jesse : I think the biggest shift in healthcare we are going to live through in the next 20 years that will shape technology and innovation is the move to personal, or individual, health management. I think “healthcare” is following the pattern of “wealthcare.” Think back to 50 years ago - you went to work for 30 years, retired and received a pension and Social Security. A small fraction of households owned stocks. Then, a new investment tool called a mutual fund was on the horizon. The average American didn’t know how and didn’t need to know how to manage their finances; perhaps once a year they ask an advisor what to do. Then came the 401k and then the 529 and retirement and saving are now the individual’s responsibilities. Healthcare will likely follow the same trend. It’s about cost, efficiency, and individual responsibility. This will drive a wide range of medtech solutions products and services we can’t even imagine today.
What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to a fellow or aspiring professional in your field, looking to embark on a similar venture or professional journey along the lines of your service and area of expertise?
Jesse : No regrets. You need to honestly and pragmatically consider all the risks of your adventure in terms of time invested, financial loss, opportunity loss, pain of failure, and make sure that whatever learning and life experience you get along the way will still make it all worthwhile if it doesn’t work out. If you have “the burn” to do a startup and you don’t, will you regret it later for not taking the chance? Go! Take the chance. However, if you will lose sleep because you are worried about your next paycheck, perhaps you should reconsider.
Jesse Ambrosina joined Ivenix in May 2012. He has over 25 years of experience bringing new products and technology to market in a range of industries including medical devices, semiconductor capital equipment, and consumer products. Jesse is a named inventor on over 30 U.S. patents and has over 10 pending applications. He holds an MS of engineering from Boston University and a BS of engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.