BD ramps up tech development with new science chief, scientific advisory board

If BD’s ongoing hiring spree is any indication, the medtech giant—which recently reported nearly 20% growth in revenue for its fiscal year 2021—seems to be aiming to make an even bigger splash in 2022.

The latest addition to BD’s executive team is Joseph Smith, M.D., Ph.D., who is taking on the title of chief scientific officer and senior vice president, effective Monday.

As CSO, Smith will oversee the company’s “technology roadmap,” spearheading the development of new systems and devices that fit into and bring improvements to three core areas of healthcare: smart connected care, transitions to new care settings and chronic disease. To do so, he’ll be expected to revamp BD’s focus on linking up with external tech partners and develop new models of innovation.

Joseph Smith BD
Joseph Smith, M.D., Ph.D. (BD)

Smith will have some support in these efforts from a newly formed scientific advisory board, which he will be in charge of establishing, co-chairing and staffing with experts in medicine, technology and innovation.

He’ll report to Elizabeth McCombs, BD’s chief technology officer and executive vice president.

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Smith’s appointment at BD is the culmination of three decades of experience in healthcare, nearly 20 years of which has been spent in leadership roles at medical device companies. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and is board certified three times over: in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and clinical cardiac electrophysiology. He also racked up master’s and doctorate degrees from MIT, the latter of which focused on medical engineering and medical physics.

His first role in medtech was as chief medical officer and senior vice president of Guidant for four years, during which time the cardiac pacemaker developer was purchased by Boston Scientific in a blockbuster $27 billion deal. From there, Smith moved on to Johnson & Johnson, where he spent about two years as vice president of emerging technologies in the company’s corporate office of science and technology.

Between 2010 and 2016, Smith served as chief medical and science officer of medical research organization West Health. At the same time, he also began racking up positions on the boards of other medtech makers and nonprofit organizations, as well as a manager role on an investment fund associated with West Health.

Most recently, he held overlapping CEO roles at Reflexion Health—a digital physical therapy company he led from 2015 to 2020—and Digital Health Corp, which both invests in and acquires promising new healthcare technologies and which Smith led from 2017 to 2021.

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“Joe is a digital health pioneer who brings more than 30 years of experience to BD, with his life’s work focused on the intersection of medicine and technology,” McCombs said in a statement.

“Digital technologies have transformed the world and our lives, and we see great potential to apply these technologies, helping healthcare professionals and organizations achieve better outcomes and patient experiences while optimizing care delivery,” she continued. “Joe will help BD push the boundaries in digital health technologies that can accelerate smart connected care, enable the transition to new care settings and improve chronic disease.”