The medical device industry is changing so fast that getting your med device to market sooner than later is the priority. The rapid pace of new devices entering the market is shortening the lifespan of med device technology.
The medical device industry is forecast to rise by over 5 percent a year and reach nearly $800 billion by 2030. Increasing demand for innovative new devices (think wearable) and services (think health data), as lifestyle diseases become more prevalent, the massive potential in emerging markets is driving this increase.
The question is, how will you bring your med device into the market to profit from this multi-billion dollar opportunity? Will you market it directly, license it out to an established player, or use both of these strategies simultaneously?
In this article, I’ll share with you some of the top reasons why licensing is one of the best go-to-market strategies for medical devices and technologies.
Licensing is one of the best ways to get your device into the market faster, especially if you lack resources. Medical device R&D is becoming more technically complex, requiring many different technologies, and often faces the growing complexity of the regulatory approval process. The demand for innovation is shortening development timelines, and many of the largest companies are moving out of the R&D part of the medical device business due to increasing technological innovation.
And if you’re like many companies, especially start-ups, you lack these capabilities in-house.
It’s also a way to protect yourself by licensing it to a more prominent company with resources to sustain it in the commercial marketplace. Competition is getting more intense in the medical device industry as new and non-traditional entrants (such as Apple, Google, IBM, Samsung, Alibaba, etc.) with disruptive technologies and global networks enter the industry. These are big players experienced in the consumer marketplace and know how to leverage their capabilities to compete in this fast-growing market.
Keep in mind, licensing is not an either-or strategy. You can start with marketing directly, then shift to a licensing approach, and even the other way around. Or you can do both simultaneously. That’s how Bill Gates built the largest software company. He licensed the DOS system to IBM and carved out rights to sell it directly under the Windows brand.
If your medical technology has several market applications, you can focus on your core market and license rights to the other markets. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly has over one hundred licensing partnerships around the world. Some of these include a Belgium-based company developing treatments for osteoporosis. A Canadian medical group is developing a multiple sclerosis treatment. And a Japanese partner to bring cancer treatment to market (Lilly kept exclusive rights to make and sell it to the rest of the world).
If you’ve got a new medical device ready to launch or it’s already in the market, you must step back and address this changing market. To succeed, you need the right marketing strategy. Remember, while medical device marketing shares plenty of fundamentals with marketing in other industries, there are significant differences. Knowing what those are can make the difference between succeeding in the marketplace or falling by the wayside.
Rand Brenner is an IP professional whose passion is helping inventors, startups, and businesses of all sizes use licensing to turn their IP into income-producing products, services, and technologies. His decades of experience run the gamut from medical devices to food technology to consumer products. He’s licensed some of the biggest Hollywood entertainment blockbusters including the Batman Movies (1 and 2), and the number one kid’s action TV show, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Rand speaks about licensing and is a featured speaker at investment conferences, trade shows, colleges, and startup events. His first book, Hidden Wealth: The Money Making Power of Licensing was released in 2019 and is available on Amazon.com. He’s also a published writer with articles appearing in several prestigious trade magazine including The Licensing Journal, Intellectual Property Magazine, and License India. Rand also mentors at the Cal State Fullerton School of Business and Economics and is a judge for their startup business plan competitions.