Sometimes, it makes sense for a medtech company to outsource product development to bring their device to market faster and more efficiently. MassDevice.com editor Sarah Faulkner spoke to Minnetronix‘s VP of business development and marketing, Jim Reed, about how and when medtech companies should consider outsourcing product development to a partner.
Faulkner: How should companies prepare to approach a potential partner? What expectations do you have for a company that wants to partner with Minnetronix?
Reed: We have helped a huge variety of companies, from little startups to big multinationals and in between. I’d say the biggest predictor of success for them, which really means success for us, too, is clarity of what your objective is. If they need a rough-and-ready prototype for an animal study, that’s one thing. If they need a device that is going to go into human clinical trials in a different country with a low regulatory environment, that’s a different thing.
The more clear somebody is coming in, the more we can really help paint a clear road-map for them. You have a much more accurate idea of what it’s going to cost, how long it’s going to take, what the risks are, and so on.
Faulkner: When do you think companies should consider outsourcing their product development rather than try to do it in-house?
Reed: Twenty years ago, companies did not outsource development that much. It’s far more common now. The biggest thing is, if you have an area of expertise where you really are the best in the world and it’s key to your business, that’s the stuff you should keep inside. For the most part, med-device companies, their real value is in their regulatory approvals, their intellectual property, their sales for distribution, their revenue – that’s where their value comes from. Having an R&D team may or may not actually move the needle much.
We see companies that struggle to do things in-house that they should outsource. Now, we’re not good at everything. There are a lot of companies out there that do a huge variety of things in different services and technology. But if you’re clear in your objectives, it’ll help you pick the right kind of partner that you need.
Once you narrow it down, you go and look through that category of partners and find the right one who’s the fit for your technology or your particular issue you need to solve and you can do really, really well. The number of options are out there, and the quality of options out there, it’s just unprecedented. It’s pretty amazing what you can do virtually without having to build a brick and mortar, spend a bunch of capital and have your burn rate go through the roof.