Nearly 300 of the industry’s best and brightest gathered for a night of big ideas, industry insights and few cocktails last night at MassDevice.com’s Big 100 East 2013 conference in Waltham, Mass.
This year at the Big 100 in Waltham, Mass., the conversation turned to the future of M&A, with panelist Cathy Burzik offering a candid description of the Apax takeover of Kinetic Concepts, where she once occupied the corner office.
The centerpiece panel also featured Karen Licitra, the worldwide chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) global medical solutions group. Together with Burzik, she offered advice to tomorrow’s CEOs and executives, saying future leaders will need more agility and general management skills than her generation.
A group of CEOs also took the stage in a free-range discussion about game-changing technologies and the rapid pace of industry change. CEOs Jeff Burbank of NxStage(NSDQ:NXTM), Philipp Lang of ConforMIS, Richard Packer of Zoll and Amar Sawhney of Ocular Therapeutix each offered ideas from the view in the corner office.
But before the headliners took the stage, event sponsors aptitude, Porzio Life Sciences and Greenberg Traurig hosted break-out sessions on headline-grabbing topics affecting the medtech industry. Marketing gurus Judy Habib, Rob Kinslow and Cat Kolodij from KHJ Brand Activation were on hand to help medical device makers find new ways to approach marketing.
Aptitude’s marketing and business model breakout session sparked buzz in the crowd with advice on social media marketing practices, and the moderators – Justin Hibbs and Shawn Fleming – encouraged audience members to think about business strategies in new ways.
At Porzio’s breakout session on compliance, moderators Michelle Axelrod and Ed Crowe and a panel of industry compliance experts tried to suss out practical strategies for handling issues such as off-label promotion regulations and federal Sunshine laws. With participation from the audience, the panelists highlighted an important message about compliance in the U.S.: there’s a lot of gray area, so make sure you stay ahead of the curve with strong policies, personnel and training programs.
Greenberg Traurig’s David Dykeman, the moderator for the IP/Technology breakout session, also emphasized the importance of staying ahead of regulation and competition by keeping the best people in your corner. Executives hailing from Allied Minds, LeMaitre Vascular (NSDQ:LMAT) and Stryker (NYSE:SYK) discussed a complex regulatory environment that creates murky waters for M&A and IP processes.
Medical device top dogs at this year’s Big 100 agreed that it’s no longer enough to come out with a device that’s simply better than the last. Companies have to bring truly game-changing product to the market, backed up by a savvy management team to support the product and tackle new hurdles on the horizon.