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Gunderson, for one, is hopeful the device industry is adapting. He said part of the change has to be cultural, for companies and their development teams to fully grasp that health care providers and payers are customers who have needs to be met, too.
Meanwhile, he said, “what we are doing right now is harvesting the last of the VC plantings. We are going to be in an innovation drought for a while.”
What’s interesting is that the St. Jude team sees no reason for such pessimism. In a quick follow-up, Heinmiller said St. Jude’s spending on internal research and development has created a “balanced portfolio” in the pipeline, enabling the company to be “disciplined and strategic” when it does look outside for promising technologies. A thin crop of development-stage opportunities, apparently, doesn’t mean no crop.
And St. Jude points out that nothing has fundamentally changed in an aging population that will have a great many health problems.
“When you stick to the large, epidemic-like diseases where there is a substantial clinical need,” St. Jude’s Callaghan said, “and you focus on better outcomes and lower cost, generally speaking, the math is going to work in your favor.”