The medtech world is about more than just building better medical devices. It’s also about technologies that, when applied with ingenuity, can help accelerate the entire biopharma enterprise.
This means leveraging CRISPR-based gene editing techniques to make it cheaper and easier to translate ideas into therapies, or to build more-sensitive and shelf-stable diagnostic tests—or even to make animal organs compatible for human transplantation.
It includes building ways to get biologic drugs into the body faster, more easily and on a person’s schedule, or reading the very air we breathe to measure our bodies’ inner workings in the face of toxins, diseases or therapies.
Artificial intelligence, liberated data and a more connected world have already begun to demonstrate their abilities to disseminate professional care into the home, shoulder the weight of decisionmaking in a life with diabetes, or create never-before-seen druglike molecules from scratch.
It’s the act of finding hidden diseases, to get people treatment sooner.
That all being said—it’s also about building better devices, or even redefining the term entirely. It can mean minimizing the risks and recovery from an open surgery procedure, or making it completely hands-free. Or designing implants that allow cancer-killing radiation to start weeks ahead of time, or a powder you can eat to help even out your blood sugar.
The medtech world is fierce, creative and dynamic. These 15 companies embody the drive to make a significant difference in people’s lives, by any technological means at their disposal. As always, we’ll be watching to see how their progress cultivates others, be they patients or otherwise. — Conor Hale