These Medical Device Innovations are Transforming the Market in 2021 (The MedTech Download)

Kelly Springs-Kelley
July 30, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • 2021 has been an impressive year in medical devices, with new innovations transforming how we deliver healthcare.
  • Medical device trials struggled to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. But now some see this great “remote experiment” has shown that virtual or hybrid trial elements may have advantages as we move into the future.
  • SVB has released a mid-year report titled “Healthcare Investments and Exits,” which details the immense amount of money pouring into healthcare innovation.

The 18 Most Innovative Medical Devices of 2021

The medical device field is inherently innovative, solving previously unsolvable healthcare problems and helping millions of people. From digital health solutions to get us through the pandemic, to devices that make managing chronic conditions easier while improving outcomes, MedTech entrepreneurs are ushering in a new, healthier world. And each year brings another crop of ground-breaking innovations.

2021 has been no exception. An article from Medical Design and Outsourcing lists 18 of this year’s most impressive medical device innovations. They include Cala Health’s Cala Trio, a personalized therapy system that helps reduce hand tremors. Also listed is the CustomFlex artificial iris, which is a foldable iris prosthesis for the full or partial absence of the colored part of the eye. The injectable device is “individually custom-made to mimic the original appearance of a patient’s iris. It has a controlled light entry with fixed pupil aperture and opaque material.”

SVB Healthcare Investments and Exits Report

If you are in the medical device industry in any capacity, you are likely aware of the staggering amount of money flowing into healthcare. For the industry as a whole, in 2021, the total amount of money invested in the first 6 months of the year exceeded all of 2020, which itself saw record-breaking numbers.

Silicon Valley Bank recently released a report titled “Healthcare Investments and Exits”, which covered the first half of 2021. It lists in detail market highlights, healthcare investments, healthcare SPAC activity, exits, and the outlook for the rest of 2021. The report points out that “R&D tools dominated the number of deals and total dollars,” while “reversing a 3-year downward trend, Series A device activity was up significantly with dollars and deals far ahead of 2020’s mid-year numbers.”  

DNA Origami to Trap Viruses Inside Body

As far as viruses go, there is no doubt that COVID-19 has made a name for itself, upending life as we know it on a global scale. But the reality is that COVID-19 is one of more than a quadrillion quadrillion individual viruses on the planet. In fact, there are more viruses on Earth than there are stars in the universe. And while relatively few can infect a human body, we have learned that when they do, they can have disastrous health and economic consequences.

Keeping those rogue, human-invading viruses in check is thus crucial in our ability to protect life and society. And while there are several antivirals currently in use today, researchers in Munich have created “DNA origami” that serve as “tiny virus traps that can bind viral particles and render them harmless within the body.” Rather than rely on small-molecule viral inhibitors, the technique engulfs and immobilizes viral particles.

How COVID-19 Changed Medical Device Clinical Trials Forever

More than one year ago, almost as quickly as the world shut down, leaders in various industries scrambled to figure out ways to work in what was exhaustingly referred to as the “new normal.” In sectors that relied on the physical – from interactions to inspections – virtual alternatives and solutions were born. In medical device, clinical trials were a key element that needed to be addressed, in order to avoid lengthy delays in getting innovation to market.

And what many people found is that virtual wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in some circumstances. As this article reports, “the success of remote clinical trial oversight opens the door to hybrid approaches and creates new possibilities for the future of trials.” One example is that virtual monitoring has not compromised the quality of the trials or safety of the participants.

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