Two MedTech firms explain why being in NH boosts their growth
The MedTech industry is not new to the Granite State, but its growth has been making recent headlines. Last year, the city of Manchester was awarded a $44 million federal grant to develop biomedical infrastructure, specifically to support the manufacturing of regenerative tissues and organs.
Then in November, Google announced that it would be licensing its mammography AI technology, for the first time ever, to the Nashua, New Hampshire, firm iCAD, Inc.
Those keeping score might sit up and say, “Does New Hampshire have a medical devices industry now?” In reality, these are only the latest developments in an industry that has been thriving in New Hampshire for decades.
Understanding the diverse landscape: what is a medical device?
Medical devices, as defined by the World Health Organization, “can be any instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, appliance, implant, reagent for in vitro use, software, material or other similar or related article, intended by the manufacturer to be used, alone or in combination for a medical purpose.” There are an estimated 2 million kinds of medical devices that have been brought to the world market so far, in more than 7,000 generic device groups.
The Food and Drug Administration has its own medical device definition, contained in Section 201(h) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and defines the term “medical devices” to include a huge diversity of products, from tongue depressors to artificial organs, from x-ray machines to medical lasers. Beyond determining if the product is a medical device, the FDA also provides guidelines for determining product classification.
New Hampshire’s long standing medical device ecosystem
New Hampshire has a long-established medical device ecosystem. Companies such as Sunrise Labs and Corflex Global have brought cutting-edge medical devices to the market for decades.
Founded in 1992 and based in Bedford, Sunrise Labs has established itself in the industry by producing robust, reliable, cost-effective designs to turn ideas into commercial medical device solutions. With in-house systems, electronics, software, mechanical, and UX engineers, they have decades of experience developing FDA-regulated devices for their clients, ranging from large OEM manufacturers to innovative start up companies.
Led by owners Eric Soederberg and Drew Sunstein, Sunrise Labs was recognized in 2021 as one of Business NH Magazine’s Best Companies to Work For, for the third consecutive year in a row! That culture and the positive workplace have produced more than just happy employees – examples of medical devices in the Sunrise Labs portfolio include controllers for artificial hearts, breast imaging and tumor location devices, wireless EEG headsets, robotic surgery systems, neurological pain management devices, transdermal drug delivery, and many more. Their innovations reach beyond the medical devices industry, as Sunrise Labs provided product development services to fellow New Hampshire Tech Alliance Member, SpotOn Fence, in a popular virtual fence containment system for dogs.
Corflex Global started in Massachusetts in 1984 as a small manufacturing and distribution company for orthopedic soft goods, but relocated to Manchester, New Hampshire in 1993 as the business grew. Corflex Global has now expanded its offering to include DME Billing, consulting, fitting, services, and inventory management. In 2013, the company released its Contender Post-Op Knee Brace, its first technical orthopedic product. Three years later, Corflex partnered with another business to supply all U.S. Veterans Administration medical centers.
Orthopedic braces have come a long way. Corflex’s Solar OA Knee Brace exemplifies those technological advancements, earning it a spot as a 2022 finalist for the NHTA Product of the Year. Designed specifically for patients with osteoarthritis, the brace achieves a true individualized fit through the use of flexible silicone thigh and calf cuffs that are molded to the patient’s leg with a 90-second UV light exposure. The exactness of the fit is comfortable, yet tight enough that it won’t slide out of place as the patient goes about their life. On top of all that, it’s convenient, as it allows patients to be diagnosed and fit in one office visit, allowing patients to get right back to their lives.
The future is bright for MedTech in New Hampshire
Recent headlines and reports of those in the industry agree, New Hampshire MedTech has only grown in the last few years, benefiting from the changing trends in both remote work, and the demands it is placing on other industries.
During the peak of the pandemic, many organizations adopted a remote work environment, offering employees a taste of a different lifestyle and the flexibility to conduct business from the comfort of their homes. It was quickly discovered by many businesses that a remote work setting was not only successful, but also provided a larger range of incoming candidates to choose from.
“Sunrise has grown significantly over the last few years,” said Laurin Noel, Vice President of Business Development at Sunrise Labs, “both with some remote workers and also with the addition of talented individuals that want to move to, or stay in New Hampshire for the great quality of life that our state offers.”
Ryan LaMarca, Marketing Manager at Corflex Global also reported seeing New Hampshire’s MedTech industry growth over the last few years. LaMarca stated, “Boston has always been the major hub, but companies are expanding to New Hampshire to take advantage of the available market share.”
Remote trends expanding to medical devices
Medicine and technology are constantly evolving fields, with new breakthroughs and innovations happening daily. Better treatments are always in development and technology continues to revolutionize not only the way we practice medicine, but with the medical devices and MedTech available to improve the lives of patients. This desire for a more flexible lifestyle, and doing everyday tasks from home has expanded beyond wanting to work from home, and to receiving healthcare at home as well.
“We are seeing devices and solutions that allow patients to be monitored, and even receive certain therapies in the comfort of their own homes,” said Noel at Sunrise Labs. “These ‘digital health’ solutions, where a device is connected to an app to provide feedback to the patient, and allow remote physiological monitoring of early indicators like temperature and heart rate, improving patient outcomes and lowering healthcare costs by allowing for early intervention and reduced trips to the ER.”
Continued innovation and meeting the demand of patients’ desire for at-home care is key to continued success. “AR and wearable technology are coming to fruition in orthopedics, whether it’s to improve patient outcomes or validate procedures,” said LaMarca from Corflex Global. “We place a heavy emphasis on innovation to stay ahead of the competition in the orthopedic industry.”
These new tools and medical devices are the future of medical innovation, keeping the standard of care high and empowering patients.
How NHTA supports New Hampshire’s MedTech growth
As MedTech and medical device companies in New Hampshire look to grow and thrive on the global market, they’ve got the NHTA for support. Noel said it is telling that one of Sunrise’s founders, Eric Soederberg, won NHTA’s Entrepreneur of the Year, and that Product of the Year went to one of their clients, OnPoint Systems. “We feel that our involvement and support of this organization helps to nurture a vibrant tech ecosystem in the State of NH,” Noel said.
The New Hampshire Tech Alliance keeps innovators connected with other like-minded people they might not otherwise encounter, said LaMarca, and the annual competition keeps their feet on the innovation pedal. “The exposure from the Product of the Year competition and all NHTA did to support the finalists, allowed for us to showcase our latest innovations to our customers, peers, family, and friends at the local level.”
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