Can Medtronic really reach 10 times as many people as it does today?
In an interview with MedtronicTalks, Geoff Martha says one year in the CEO seat has shown him the company is positioned to have a far greater impact on global health than it currently does.
“We take great pride in that we impact the lives of two patients every second,” Martha said. “That sounds like a lot. Two patients every second adds up roughly to 80 million people per year. But … 80 million is just a small fraction of the world’s population. We tend to deal with the sicker people that need a cardiac device or a surgical procedure.”
Martha said with advances in miniaturization, artificial intelligence, longer battery life and other areas, Medtronic is positioned to develop products that help millions more.
“We should be much more ubiquitous given the advancements given advancements in technology and the role that we can play in healthcare,” Martha said. “I really think we could get that to 800 million in a reasonable period of time.”
The moonshot suggestion fits into the new hungry “Medtronic Mindset” that Martha and the company’s management team are trying to instill in the workforce.
The company has placed greater emphasis on gaining market share in the areas it operates – either by grabbing business from competitors or growing markets by creating products that can deliver new treatments.
Two immediate ways that Medtronic could extend its reach are rollout of its Hugo RAS surgical robot. Martha also shared his expectations for the company’s Symplicity Spyral renal denervation system to lower drug-resistant hypertension. Martha delivers updates on the two technologies that still require regulatory approval.
But the company has had setbacks. Martha shed some light on the decision to pull its HeartWare HVAD system off the shelves. HeartWare accounted for less than 1% of Medtronic’s revenue, according to Truist Securities. But Medtronic did pay $1 billion to acquire the company and device in 2016.
The decision left Abbott International as the sole HVAD provider with its HeartMate 3.
“What really drove the decision was there was a growing body of evidence that Abbott’s device was better for patients,” Martha said, explaining that patients with Medtronic’s device suffered higher rates of stroke and death than Abbott’s.
“We just felt it was better for patients” to withdraw HeartWare, Martha said. “It goes straight to the heart of Medtronic’s mission-driven focus. We’re disappointed we couldn’t address some of the issues. It’s a complicated therapy. We couldn’t get it to where we want it … the path was uncertain.”
At the end of the day, Martha said the decision wasn’t hard. “Our reputation is the most important thing here at Medtronic and our mission. This is the right thing for patients.”
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