Successful Companies, Compelling Stories
MD&DI’s readers submitted a number of nominations for our annual Manufacturer of the Year, but two device firms stood out almost immediately. It was not a difficult decision to give the 2007 honor to Integra LifeSciences Corp. (Plainsboro, NJ) and Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA), and profile them for our November issue.
Not only have both firms developed a radical, innovative technology that has changed people’s lives for the better, but they have also built extremely successful businesses around those technologies. It is rare to see companies loved both by the clinical community and by Wall Street as much as these two are.
Personally, Integra was an obvious choice because I started following the firm long before I joined MD&DI. In 1997, I was covering the pharmaceutical and medical device industries for a New Jersey newspaper, and decided to do an article about advances in wound care. I saw a release about a newly approved product called Artificial Skin from a company called Integra, and decided to make it part of the story. Richard Caruso, Integra’s founder and then-CEO, invited me to come by its offices. He spent more than an hour with me explaining not only this radical new product that could regrow skin cells, but the then-new field of tissue engineering. One day, he said, this technology will be used to enable people to regrow organs. Not having been exposed to these concepts before, I was pretty amazed, and I featured Integra prominently in the resulting article.
I was puzzled, however, at why its stock price was so low. Less than a year later, Caruso hired Wall Street veteran Stuart Essig as CEO, and I covered that story too. For the next five years, I was not directly involved with the medical device industry, but I kept tabs on Integra. Each year, they surprised me. By the time I joined MD&DI in 2003, the firm bore little resemblance to the one I covered in the ’90s. Essig and his team had adopted a strategy of aggressive acquisition and diverse product offerings. The firm sold everything that a neurosurgeon could want, and its revenues were growing exponentially. That success curve has continued, and I hope you find the firm’s story as alluring as I do.
Intuitive Surgical was also an obvious choice. Robotic-assisted surgery has become a reality, thanks mainly to the firm’s da Vinci system. MD&DI acknowledged its breakthrough in 2003, when we spotlighted Intuitive as one of the most impressive companies in the industry. But back then, its technology was being used in only the most progressive of institutions. In the past year, however, it has received a great amount of coverage as its technology has expanded beyond prostate-cancer applications and into others. Because of the escalating adoption rate, we figured this was as good a year as any to give Intuitive the honor. But its game-changing technology, its patent portfolio that is the envy of industry, and its well-respected management team have made the firm one of the device industry’s most successful for a number of years.
Enjoy the fascinating stories of this year’s honorees.
Manufacturers of the Year
Smart Products, Smart Companies
Integra LifeSciences Corp. (Plainsboro, NJ) and Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA) have built successful businesses around a radical, innovative technology that dramatically improves people's lives.
Integra LifeSciences Corp.
By Erik Swain
From its beginnings as a small firm with an underappreciated technology, the company has transformed into the market leader in neurosurgery.
Intuitive Surgical Inc.
By Maria Fontanazza
The firm made a name for itself with its breakthrough robotic surgery system—one of the most sophisticated devices that the operating room has ever seen.
User Interfaces Refined
By Michael Wiklund
Manufacturers should create devices with refined touchpoints to give users a better impression of quality.
Tracking Medical Devices, Part 2
By Laura Bix and Robb Clarke
A unique device identification system requires certain data, data management systems, and data carriers.
Effective Nanotechnology Patent Strategies
By Steven Yu
As OEMs harness nanotechnology for their devices, effective patent licensing strategies can go a long way.
Modifying Polymer Surfaces
By Robert Ward
A robust, built-in surface can be created using self-assembling monolayer end groups.
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