Title: The Next Medtech Frontier: MedTech’s COVID-19 Response

To their credit, many involved within our industry are fixated on determining the best ways to protect the public health. If you’re like me in our current circumstances, you are unfortunately finding it impossible to focus on much beyond the coronavirus pandemic. To their credit, many involved within our industry are fixated on determining the best ways to protect the public health. Meanwhile, the happenings of business outside of COVID-19 such as in the M&A space continue, but garner much less attention. For example, GE recently completed the sale of its BioPharma business unit to Danaher (Table 1) for more than $20 billion1—few noticed. Abbvie’s $63 billion buyout of Allergan is projected to close in May after they divest three product lines2; a tough thing to do when the SEC, as well as the financial and legal world, is focused on coronavirus. Further, Stryker’s $5.4 billion bid for Wright Medical is getting chewed up by the FTC, which is unhappy with the combined strengths of Stryker and Wright Medical in lower extremity joint implants. Since Wright Medical has a 70 percent share of market in the total ankle replacement market,3 a divestiture may be required. Smith+Nephew may be the real beneficiary in the situation, but again, has anyone noticed? Table 1: Recent acquisitions impacting the medtech space1,2 Why This Is Important Medical device innovation and policymaking not directly linked to COVID-19 isn’t completely frozen, but it is definitely experiencing a spring frost. While this may spell trouble for startups seeking funding, it could be an opportunity for medtech companies with something to offer to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The early stage telehealth industry is getting a shot in the arm from the FCC, which announced a $200 million program that will fund telecommunications equipment and services for healthcare providers.4 It will relieve the enormous strain on our healthcare providers as they deal with the surge in patients from the pandemic. Meanwhile, other medical device manufacturers are taking unprecedented steps to help. For example, 3M has published its price lists to help customers avoid inflated prices and to help fight PPE counterfeits during COVID-19.5

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  • 5/1/2020


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