Collaboration between clinicians, engineers and industry continues to drive innovation

The 2016 PCR Innovators Day (16 May) was a unique opportunity for physicians, industry and medical device innovators to discover novel, disruptive technologies at the forefront of cardiovascular therapy. The interactive session encouraged debate, conversation and collaboration through presentations on a range of topics, followed by audience-wide roundtable discussions.

Collaboration between clinicians, engineers and industry continues to drive innovation
Collaboration between clinicians, engineers and industry continues to drive innovation

Speaking about the unique benefits of the Innovators Day “ecosystem” at EuroPCR, William Wijns –EuroPCR course director and Innovators Day steering committee member – said, “Today, we have industry small and big; we have inventors, we have people from the financial world, representative of venture capital firms and, of course, we have physicians. It is very unusual to have all of these together in one physical place.” According to W. Wijns, the session gave key stakeholders in the field of cardiovascular technologies the opportunity to learn about early innovations, new trends and emerging clinical practice.

Alexander Schmitz, another member of the steering committee and an investment director at venture capital firm Endeavour Vision, told The Daily Wire, “All of these products in regular clinical practice today are the result of collaboration between folks with an idea, clinicians, and folks with the ability to turn that idea into a product that can then get approved and tested and ultimately used in patients.” The Innovators Day gave physicians, “An opportunity to understand what is happening in the medical device world, and interact with folks that are involved in the process of innovation.” For potential investors, too, the day provided the opportunity to meet and learn about “clinicians and the clinical need” as well as network with “the engineers and business people who can develop a product and bring it to market.”

Recognising current areas of progress and controversy, this year’s Innovators Day featured three themes: mitral and transcuspid valve interventions; heart failure interventions and technologies; and applications of e-health solutions in the cardiovascular space.

Kicking off the day, the mitral and tricuspid valve interventions section focused on the future of these therapies and devices currently on the market, finishing with a lively debate on where investment might best be made. The audience heard arguments on both sides, with a particular emphasis on the difficulties presented by patient selection.

The second theme ­– heart failure interventions – involved presentations on a number of devices, giving the audience the opportunity to learn about heart failure therapy by neuromodulation, by temporary venous catheter, by an undulating polymer membrane and by an implantable neurostimulation device. Participants were given the chance to discuss the widening scope of heart failure intervention in the section’s roundtable debate.

The third and final theme of the day focused on e-health technologies and their applications to the cardiovascular market. The section began with a discussion on the medical and clinical relevance of e-health solutions, followed by presentations spanning technologies from a mobile electrocardiogram for smartphones and tablets, a cloud-based electrocardiogram analysis service, a 24/7 health monitoring system for members of the shipping industry at sea for long periods of time, and a remote-access live case transmissions solution for cardiovascular education.

Following the success of last year’s Out-of-the-box technology section, this year’s Innovators Day featured a number of presentations on novel, disruptive solutions to a wide range of cardiovascular problems. Each presentation was followed by an interactive discussion, allowing audience members to grill inventors on their ideas. Novel solutions were showcased on the themes of left atrial appendage closure, bariatric embolisation and electromechanical solutions for controlled delivery of TAVI heart valves. Following a debate on the optimal methods of bringing such technologies to market, participants had the opportunity to learn about a catheter-based cooling solution for the treatment of “vulnerable” arterial plaque, and a novel device for treating calcified aortic stenosis by fracturing valve calcifications.

Over the course of the day, active participants were given the opportunity to vote on the best e-poster, using the new PCR mobile application. After ample opportunity to discover the e-posters during regular structured networking breaks, the audience selected the Mitraclamp device as the most innovative. The winning e-poster was then presented to participants by Rachid Zegdi, highlighting its potential value in the treatment of mitral valve prolapse.

Closing the day, Nicolo Piazza said, “It was truly a fascinating day, full of new ideas and challenges, and I think it is the challenges that fuel innovation. As physicians and engineers, it is these challenges that give us the opportunity to help our patients.”

The take-home message of the day, Schmitz told The Daily Wire, was, “the continued need for collaboration among industry, clinicians, and sources of innovation, whether its technical innovation or financing to support that innovation.”