Medical device investments skyrocketed in 2018, and these trends are continuing into 2019. The activity now will influence healthcare for the next decade.
This year, the medical device and diagnostic industry saw record-breaking increases in the investment scene. As noted by Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) analysis, Trends in Healthcare Investments and Exits 2019, investing in medtech is a hot trend. The annual report highlighted record-breaking trends in investments and fundraising in the biopharma, medical devices, and diagnostics sectors.
Meanwhile, Evaluate Medtech’s World Preview 2018, Outlook to 2024 examines what players, technologies, and environments will drive the industry into the future. The report predicts that the global medtech industry will grow at 5.6% per year (CAGR) between 2017 and 2024, culminating in global sales of $595 billion by 2024.
The pipelines for biopharma, medical devices, and diagnostics proved alluring to investors in 2018. Investments in 2018 for all areas surpassed that of 2017 by nearly 50%, according to the SVB analysis. And the trend seems poised to continue. Here, we’ll look at the current environment for device investing, and consider the elements that will drive future success in the industry.
Traditional investments, a return to M&A, plus big exits
In the device arena, investments grew 40% from 2017 to 2018. Devices in cardiovascular, oncology, ophthalmology and non-invasive monitoring all saw an increase in Series A deals and dollars. Series A investments in cardiovascular more than doubled, moving from $44 million among 9 companies in 2017 to $172 million among 14 companies in 2018.
Although Series A funding was up, later-stage investments saw even greater climbs. For example, late-stage investments in cardio also more than doubled, going from $389 million for 28 companies to $871 million for 34 companies.
Traditional VCs dominated device investments. Many of the dollars came post-FDA approval so that investors could see quick (and lucrative) returns. The value of exits was up at $4.8B across 19 deals.
For the first time, venture-backed device M&A total upfront payments eclipsed all other sectors, reaching $3.5 billion. At $190M, 2018 had the largest median upfront device payment since 2013.
Boston Scientific led M&A, acquiring seven venture-backed companies in 2018. Boston Scientific also announced it will buy BTG plc (a large public company). Medtronic acquired a small public company, Mazor. Both new acquirers, like Teleflex and LivaNova, and stalwarts like J&J continue to be active. Moreover, new acquirers, like Penumbra, Massimo, Avanos, and Siemens Healthineers, could emerge as they look to build their R&D pipeline.
Companies and technologies
In the cardiovascular sector, deals focused on assist devices and mitral valve repair.
Both oncology and ophthalmology saw investments that involved surgical robotics. Tumor visualization and precision drug delivery also boosted oncology device investments.
Investments in ophthalmology and neurology highlighted a focus on surgical robotics and targeted drug delivery. The biggest deals included four that were valued over $150 million in 2017 and 2018 involving RxSight, Ivantis, Sight Sciences, and Avedro.
California and Massachusetts are the hotbeds of the healthcare investment scene, with the combination of Northern and Southern California forming a juggernaut of healthcare investing. The state drew 78 investment deals at $1.961 billion and launched 30 Series A deals totaling $311 million in funding.
Regulatory paths open up, R&D surges
One of the most important factors in the growth of device investments is the new regulatory pathways opening up, according to Evaluate Medtech’s report. The FDA has repeatedly stated its determination to speed medical devices to market. The number of innovative products granted first-time premarket approval grew to 51 in 2017, up from 40 the year before. De Novo 510(k) pathway deals had successful exits and total deal values far exceeding those of traditional 510(k) and PMA deals.
The ramp-up of all products submitted to the FDA shows a high pace of innovation. That pace will require continued R&D streams as the industry moves into the next decade.
The medtech market’s R&D spend is set to increase by 4.5% each year, reaching $39 billion by 2024. From the Evaluate Medtech report, large companies will lead the way.
Medtronic will spend $2.7 billion by 2024, growing at 2.8% CAGR between 2017 and 2024. Becton Dickinson and Edwards Lifesciences are forecast to increase their annual R&D spend the most, growing at a CAGR of 8.4% and 8.3%, respectively. Edwards Lifesciences and bioMérieux are expected to invest substantially more in R&D as a percentage of their medtech sales than the other top 20 companies, with an R&D investment rate of nearly 16% in 2024.
One of the keys to ensuring the focus stays on R&D and developing products that meet FDA standards is to improve cost containment in other expenditures. Clinical trial management constitutes a significant share of resources. Companies that aim to improve R&D and prove the science behind it will want to explore programs such as electronic data capture (EDC).
For example, Smith and Nephew, which will be among the top ten medical device companies in sales over the next five years recently consolidated all of its global studies on the Medidata Rave Clinical Cloud.
Medidata can create a seamless data flow from EDC to clinical trial management system on a single platform. This simplifies trial oversight, providing clinical operations teams with easy access and visualization of data to understand enrollment and progress of a clinical trial.
Using Medidata’s platform, Smith & Nephew can grow its study portfolio faster by breaking down data silos, allowing teams to focus on oversight activities that are critical to the success of a trial.
The healthcare industry has been slowly building up steam, laying the groundwork for better products and processes, that lead with digital advances and cloud computing. In the last two years, the industry has come roaring into its own with exciting technologies that aim to revolutionize healthcare.
Strong focus on R&D, advance of new technologies, a supportive FDA, and attention to data capture and management have led to unprecedented investment in the future of devices and the role they will play for healthcare in the future.