Coating Medical Devices is a Two-Way Street

Posted by Josh Simon on Tue, May 29, 2012 @ 11:15

I have not mused about the business in several posts, so let me get back to that for a bit.

When it comes to coatings for customers, the focus is on the customer, and rightly so.  Naturally, for such a deal to occur the customer must be interested in the hydrophilic coating (or other coating) company, but what is on the other side of the coin? 

This is:  the coating company must be interested in you too.

We do not talk about this enough, and openly, but doing so will save a lot of people a lot of wasted time on both sides of the relationship.  Every slippery coating company wants to land the gigantic medical device suppliers of the world, and they also want to land a good many of the smaller players too! When speaking of catheters, guidewires, introducers and other "conventional" devices, those people have nothing to worry about.  A coating company will nearly always welcome you with open arms.

What about the less obvious devices that may or may not benefit from a coating?  I generally go by these criteria when thinking about taking on a customer:

1)  Application of the coating onto the device should be achievable, and with minimal manufacturing nightmares.

2) The volume produced should be significant, on a yearly basis.

3)  The customer should be an established, if not reputable, business, not a university, not a lone physian, not a retired consultant with no resources, not a grad student, etc..

4)  The application should be in the medical or diagnostic field, or at least if not in the medical field, the forces and environmental conditions where the coating is used should be along the same lines as medical forces/conditions.

5)  The customer must undestand that coatings are not free.  (Don't laugh!  I have been asked to give our services gratis!)

 

Achievable Coatings

Much of this is talked about in this paper on hydrophilic coatings.  If you have a medical device with an odd shape, the best thing to do is ask someone like me or another person working at a hydrophilic coating company.  Anyone with some coating experience will do.  I have seen great ideas and great devices foiled by the simple fact that getting the coating onto the darned thing is nigh impossible.

 

Production Volume

I have a large family.  One day I will probably go broke from the number of college educations I need to pay for.  In order to have any hope of staving off bankruptcy, I need to keep the high-value customers rolling in.  A high-value customer is quite simply a customer that brings in much more money than we spend on maintaining them.

If your company is in India (or another faraway land), and you want to buy $10,000 worth of material every year, and my company needs to spend $12,000 to visit you and provide customer service to you every year, guess what?  We are not interested.  That is not high-value.

If you are a lone-actor that wants to coat 5 pieces of stainless steel, once, ever, that prospect really holds no hope for a coating company.  It is wonderful that a century from now your device will be the greatest thing since sliced bread with a volume of millions per year, but our outlook is more toward the 2 to 8-year time scale.  Unless your device is already in a company an under initial stages of Design Control, it is probably not less than 8 years out.

 

Established Customers

Honestly, this is more related to the previous two points than anything else.  It takes a serious company to A)  know how to develop a medical device in today's world and B) be capable of producing the volumes necessary to make us both successful.

Physicians (and occasionally Professors) do provide great design ideas for medical devices, but they themselves have often dedicated little time to understanding how a device is designed and commercialized.  Going it alone is not an option.  If you come to me as a lone physician unattached to a company, I will thank you for your time and point you to Coatings2Go.

I will also say the same to graduate students, and consultants that just want to try something out, and for the same reasons.

Simply having a company to work from is not always a guarantee either.  It is necessary to demonstrate a knowledge of product development in the medical field, if this is a medical device.

 

Medical Devices and Non-Medical Uses

I do not want to make it seem like trying to coat non-medical devices with hydrophilic coatings is pointless.  It is not, IF you know what the characteristics of the coating are.  Nevertheless, I still get calls from people that want to coat valves for the crude oil industry and truck parts, etc.  They usually do not bother to read (and admittedly it may not be that easy to find) the material that talks about the impermanent nature of hydrophilic coatings, especially under high abrasion and repeated use.  High abrasion and repeated use are two phrases that sum up the vast majority of non-medical uses, and thereby eliminate most of those uses with medical grade hydrophilics.

If you are from a non-medical company, think long and hard before calling up a supplier of something that is impermanent and mostly geared for disposable single-use devices.

 

Coatings Cost $$

See the first paragraph under Production Volume.  The good news about this is that although coatings cost money, the goal here is to make the customer money as well.  Both parties must benefit.

This rules out charities that produce medical devices, unless of course they find a vendor willing to donate.  It is not so prevalent for people to ask for lifetime free coating supplies, but often they can be taken aback by the costs associated with coatings.  Often, hydrophilic coatings, drug delivery coatings, and antimicrobial coatings are more epxensive than non-stick PTFE coatings, and other sorts of barrier coatings.

 

 

 

 

Tags: coatings companies, coatings vendor, coating company, business of hydrophilic coating, coating manufacturer, Coatings2Go, antimicrobial coating, coatings customers, coatings manufacturer, coatings supplier

Practical Challenges for Medical Device Coatings

Posted by Josh Simon on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 @ 04:41

I still plan to talk a little more about particulates as promised, but I wanted to take a break and point out an article I have out in Medical Design Technology.

The title is Practical Challenges for Medical Device Coatings, and as you may guess, it spells out some things to think about when looking at coating data. This is not just for hydrophilic coatings, but for many other kinds as well.

The full issue of Medical Design Technology is found here.  To get to my article, turn to page 24, or click on the link to the article in the Table of Contents.

I dislike these digital edition magazines becasue they hide all their content behind a single URL and that does not let you link directly to an article, nor does it let anyone get search engine credit for it.

MD1203cover resized 600

Tags: lubricious coating, medical device coating, Hydrophilic Coating, antimicrobial coating, anti-fouling coating

Hydrophilic Coatings Market Misinformation - Part 2

Posted by Josh Simon on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 @ 10:06

Last week I discussed why some of the estimates that the professional market research organizations make on the size of the medical device coatings market are a bit off.  I did not want to throw everything at you at once, so this week I will continue with the topic.

There is one other area where errors are made in estimating market size.  Let us take the example of a company that has developed its own antimicrobial coating for its own use.  In fact, currently there are several such examples of companies that do this:  Edwards Lifesciences, Cook Medical, B. Braun, and Medtronic. 

These companies employ their antimicrobial coatings on their own devices and gain revenue from sales.  For any one of the examples above, the sales on a given antimicrobial device are in the millions.  The mistake made by the market researchers is adding the revenue of these devices into their market size calculation.  If Cook Medical's minocycline/rifampin line of catheters sells $100 million per year (a number which I just made up off the top of my head), the market reports will add that $100 million to the market size.

This is incorrect.  When a company produces its own antimicrobial coating only for its own devices, it is not licensing out that coating or supplying it to others in any way.  However, what if they were?  Or, what if instead of using their own coating, they licensed an antimicrobial coating from a coating vendor and paid a royalty on it?  The revenue from the licensing and royalties to the coating vendor would be the number added into Market Size for medical device coatings. 

So, my proposal is that instead of simply adding the $100 million to the market size, what the researchers should do is pretend that those coatings were licensed from a coating company and then calculate the revenue gained by the theoretical coating vendor for those coatings.  This isolates the coatings revenue from the device revenue.

Afterall, we are looking at a coatings market, not a device market, so the revenues should be separated out.  Reports that talk about coated device markets might help coated device vendors, but they require all sorts of mental rejiggering to become useful for coating companies.

When you sell house paint, do you look at the selling price of all the houses you are going to paint, or do you look at how many gallons of house paint you are going to use to paint them?

 

Click me

Tags: medical device, medical device coating, Hydrophilic Coating, medical device coatings, hydrophilic coatings, antimicrobial coating, hydrophilic coating market